Beavers bid by Glen Affric

LANDOWNERS in Glen Affric hope to reintroduce beavers to the Highlands.

Four estates and government agency Forestry & Land Scotland have launched a joint consultation on the plans, coordinated by conservation charity Trees for Life.

Beavers are already found at the Aigas field centre near Beauly and at the Highland Wildlife Park near Kincraig.

Reintroducing the animals to Glen Affric would mark the first time they’ve been present in the wild in the Highlands for some 400 years.

The six-week consultation opened yesterday, and will form part of the group’s licence application to NatureScot – formerly Scottish Natural Heritage – in September.

If NatureScot approves the licence then up to three pairs of beavers could be moved to Glen Affric from Tayside before the end of the year.

The releases of up to 16 adult beavers would be spread out over two-to-three years around Loch Affric and Loch Beinn a’Mheadhain, with the Beaver Trust transporting the animals.

Alan McDonnell, programme development manager at Trees for Life, said: “Studies show that beavers can bring extensive environmental and economic benefits.

“At the same time, understanding the views of the local community – from other landowners to angling clubs – is a key step in deciding whether to go ahead with any proposed beaver release.

“Like us, the landowners making this proposal really want to hear what people think.”

Joan Cumming, north region environment advisor at Forestry & Land Scotland, added: “Proposals such as this can excite a lot of opinion – supportive, opposed, or somewhere in-between – so it’s important that as broad a range of stakeholders as possible get in touch with Trees for Life to take part in the conversation and make their views known.”

Read more stories on Scottish Field’s wildlife pages.

Plus, read about efforts to save wading birds in the August issue of Scottish Field magazine.