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Beavers doing well

It is one year since they were re-introduced to the Scottish Highlands. Not everyone likes the idea and some may have been deliberately shot.

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We reported on the re-introduction a year ago, so how have they fared?

It is the first time the area has seen wild beavers for almost 400 years.

They seem to be doing well with habitats established and the animals look healthy.  They were captured in the wild in Norway and introduced into the Knapdale Forest in Argyll in May 2009.

4 families were released, but only 3 remain.

It is unclear whether the missing ones died form natural causes or were shot by poachers.

At the time of their disappearance gunshots were heard but it has never been conclusively proven what happened.

Not everyone wants to see the beavers back.

There has been local opposition to the programme both from anglers who fear for fish stocks and people worried they will destroy or significantly change the natural environment. 

Beavers bring down many trees as they build dams and search for food. They eat a large amount of vegetation.

They are determined and pugnacious.

It is a 5-year programme run by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.  It is being monitored by Scottish Natural Heritage.

The organisers have pronounced the experiment a success so far. Despite the local oppositon.

See this video story on the BBC of how the project has gone so far with some pictures of the beavers and their handiwork.

We reported on the introduction of the animals last year on PlanetSKI.

See here for the official web site of the Scottish Beaver Trial. It includes further footage of the animals.

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