THE Cairngorms National Park Authority is to lead an application to reintroduce beavers to the area.
The park’s board voted to take the lead in the process, while working with other public bodies, charities, landowners, and residents.
Sarah Henshall, head of conservation at the authority, said: “We will be doing work around supporting land managers and owners, as well as communities, over the coming year to be well informed and prepared for living with beaver, prior to any application being made to NatureScot.”
NatureScot, the Scottish Government agency known previously as Scottish Natural Heritage, is due to pick two or three areas for beaver reintroductions before the end of this month.
Around 7,000 hectares of suitable land had been identified previously within the River Spey’s catchment.
A report for the board explained that beavers were unlikely to reach the national park from their current homes on the rivers Forth and Tay on their own due to obstructions, including hydro-electric schemes.
Xander McDade, convener of the park’s board, said: “Beavers can bring wide ranging benefits to biodiversity and can play an important ecological role in terms of flood mitigation and habitat restoration, while also recognising the need for careful management of the species to mitigate impacts on other land uses and species.
“I think there is a real benefit to taking a leading role, allowing us to dictate the timings for translocations and the pace at which the process is rolled out, ensuring that the consultation is done properly with a whole-catchment approach.”
Read more stories on Scottish Field’s wildlife pages.
Plus, check out the July issue of Scottish Field magazine, which discusses the reintroduction of the lynx.