FAQ: Do beavers transmit disease?

All Scottish Beaver Trial beavers have been quarantined following DEFRA regulations to ensure that they were suitable for release. The beavers were tested for a range of diseases, parasites and bacteria before being released in Knapdale Forest.

All Trial animals are caught once a year and re-tested as part of an annual health check monitoring programme. Water samples are also collected throughout the year from each beaver-inhabited loch for public health water chemistry testing. The risk to the public from these animals appears to be no greater than from any other wild mammal or human in Britain.

What about Giardia?

Giardia lamblia is a parasite that lives in the small intestine of many mammals, including humans and beavers; it is not particularly associated with beavers as a species. The low incidence levels in Norway where there are tens of thousands of beavers are similar to those currently in Scotland. This demonstrates that beavers are unlikely to increase the risk of G. lamblia. (There was one Giardia outbreak in Norway in recent years, near Bergen where there are no beavers).

The Trial population spent a statutory period in quarantine to ensure that they are free from G. lamblia. We intend to work with the local public health department on testing for pathogens.

Regular sampling and analysis of water quality has shown no significant increase in levels of Giardia or Cryptosporidia during the Trial, to date.



Project partners

The Royal Zoological Society of ScotlandScottish Wildlife Trust
Forestry Commission Scotland

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    Beavers are back in Scotland!

    On 24 November 2016, the Scottish Government made the landmark announcement that beavers are to remain in Scotland. This is the first time that a mammal has been formally reintroduced in UK history.

    The trial population of beavers remains in Knapdale, and the Scottish Beaver partners are now focussing their efforts on re-enforcing this population to ensure its long term future.

    Boosting the Knapdale beaver population

    For updates on the beaver re-enforcement project, please visit the website of the Scottish Wildlife Trust or the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland by clicking on the adjacent logos.

    The Scottish Beaver Trial website

    Now that the Trial has ended, this website will no longer be updated. However, if you would like to browse our historical records on the website, please click the button to continue.

    Scottish Beaver Trial RZSS Scottish Wildlife Trust