Norway in the UK

Beavers swap Norway for Scotland

Four beaver families have arrived safely in the UK as part of a programme to re-introduce the species after a 400 year long absence. The beavers, originally from Norway, will now spend six months in quarantine before being released in Knapdale, mid-Argyll, on a time-limited trial basis in spring 2009.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), project partners for the Scottish Beaver Trial, enlisted the help of a specialist team to assist them with the capture of the beaver families from the Telemark region of Norway in September.

For the last two months, the team has been capturing the beaver families, each consisting of one adult male, one adult female and between one to three yearlings or kits. Tracking the beavers and ensuring they were in the correct family groups was an important part of the process.

Iain Valentine, head of animals, conservation & education for RZSS, explained: “The capture of the beaver families was a complicated process because we wanted to ensure that existing beaver families, which included yearlings and kits, were captured together. Luckily beavers are territorial so families can be tracked within the areas they inhabit."

The team in Norway spent long periods at specific sites to identify complete family groups, ensuring that none were left behind. Another added complication was that beavers are primarily active at night so the beaver families were tracked from boats patrolling the river and caught in the dark.

"The team in Norway did a fantastic job and all the beavers are in excellent health," said Valentine. "We would like to thank our partners in Norway, from the University College Telemark and in particular Frank Rosell and his team for the work that they have put in to catching the beavers for us and to the Norwegian Government for allowing the beavers to be captured and transported from their country to Scotland.”

Once released, the project partners and Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) will continue to manage the project with Scottish Natural Heritage conducting scientific monitoring on the impact of the beavers. Simon Jones, project manager for the Scottish Beaver Trial, said: “Beavers are native to Britain but were hunted to extinction over 400 years ago. Beavers hold the potential to create new wetland habitats which in turn increases the appeal to other native species. We are excited to get the trial underway and really see what benefits beavers can bring to Scotland.”  

The team in Norway spent long periods at specific sites to identify complete family groups, ensuring that none were left behind. Photo: Edinburgh Zoo.

Send this article to a friend  
Print version

Scottish beavers were hunted to extinction 400 years ago. Last week, four beaver families arrived in the UK to be re-introduced into British nature. Photo: Edinburgh Zoo

Norway - the official site in the UK / Contact the Embassy / Contact information
© 2003/2007