Today, 14 June, we announced that RSPB Scotland is leading on a proposal to move a small number of beavers to the Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve. This blog explains why we want to bring beavers to Loch Lomond, how you can find out more and will hopefully answer any questions you might have. We will be updating it on a regular basis, so bookmark this page to stay informed.

Why we want to bring beavers to Loch Lomond

Last year, beavers in Scotland got some good news when the Scottish Government announced that further beaver translocations would be authorised. Translocations involve moving animals from one area where they are found to another, whereas reintroduction is about putting them back following local extinction/loss.

RSPB Scotland believes that beaver translocations in Scotland should be used to prevent these protected animals being shot in places where their activity might cause issues. So, we strongly welcomed this change in policy, and it was great to see the first translocation of a beaver family (outside of Knapdale) completed by Argaty Red Kites last autumn.

Now, we're excited to announce that we are leading on a proposal to translocate beavers from areas in Tayside to the Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve (NNR) using the RSPB Scotland nature reserve as the release site.

Automated trail camera photo in black and white of a beaver in water chewing on a fallen tree

Trail camera photo of a beaver at Loch Lomond in 2019.

RSPB Scotland Loch Lomond is an ideal site for beavers. In 2019 an individual was recorded foraging on the NNR. Since then, we have carried out extensive surveys on the reserve looking at areas where beavers will likely choose to live as well as carrying out a risk assessment to make sure none of the other species that share the reserve will be detrimentally affected. All this information will be used in the application we need to submit to NatureScot for a license which is required before a translocation can take place.

We hope to submit the application later this summer. But before we do, we will be talking with the local community, local stakeholders and local organisations to gain views on the proposed translocation. We’ve already been in touch with many of our neighbours, but also want to involve the wider community. So, we are planning a number of events. The first of these is an online evening talk on Tuesday 21 June, but we will host a variety of other in person and online events and discussions to ensure everyone has their chance to find out more.   

Beavers are amazing ecosystem engineers that create habitat such as wet woodland, open water and channels that benefit a whole range of species. Whilst we accept that in certain areas, such as low-lying agricultural land, these activities can be problematic, we believe that, where possible, beavers should be moved rather than resorting to lethal control. So since the Scottish Government announcement last year, we have been looking at our nature reserves as potential translocation areas. RSPB Scotland Loch Lomond is the first of these sites, representing an area within the current range of existing beaver populations.

Close up photo of a beaver's face

Beaver close-up. Photo courtesy of Wild Intrigue. 

We are hoping, if the application is successful, to release up to eight beavers (likely a single family group or two pairs) into the Loch Lomond NNR, perhaps as early as this autumn. They will then be monitored to see how they settle in.    

With over 100,000 hectares of vacant, suitable wetland habitat for beavers away from high conflict areas, we hope that translocation projects like Argaty Red Kites and our proposed one at Loch Lomond can, in the future, offer beavers in Scotland a chance to fully realise their potential across the country.

We will be updating this blog on a regular basis, so bookmark this page to keep up to date with details of upcoming events, progress and more.

You can read the answers to some frequently asked questions here: 1307.RSPB Beaver Translocation FAQs.pdf  .

Want to ask us something else? Then you are welcome to email beavers.lomond@rspb.org.uk.

Events

We will be hosting a number of events, both in person and online. The first of these was an online talk last night (Tuesday 21 June). We were really grateful to the 15 or so people attended and asked some really good questions. Don't worry if you couldn't make it. There are a number of other opportunities to come to events. See below.

Upcoming events

Monday 11 July, 7 - 8.30 pm,  Millenium Hall. No need to book.

Tuesday 12 July, 7.30 - 8.30 pm, online. Please register here: https://rspb.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_kT9LgU55T5OjmksODaX1Tw.

Thursday 21 July, 7 - 8.30 pm, Millenium Hall. No need to book. 

Any further events will be added here as they are confirmed.

Have your say

If you are happy that you’ve had all your questions answered and are ready to share your views, please fill in this online questionnaire: https://bit.ly/BeaversLomond 

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