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Knapdale’s beavers boosted by successful reinforcement - RZSS

Work to reinforce the population of beavers in Knapdale Forest in Argyll has come to a successful conclusion with the endangered species now more widespread and breeding throughout the area.

Scottish Beavers, a partnership between the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and the Scottish Wildlife Trust, released 21 beavers into Knapdale Forest between 2017 and 2019 to bolster the population, with monitoring continuing throughout 2020.

The reinforcement project has increased the genetic diversity of Knapdale’s beaver population, which is important for its future survival. The new beavers brought to Knapdale were primarily sourced from Tayside and originate from Bavaria, while the original Scottish Beaver Trial population was sourced from Norway.

A successful pairing between beavers with Norwegian and Bavarian origins has not yet been detected, but it is likely to take place in the near future.

The isolated Knapdale population is now on a more secure footing as a direct result of this reinforcement. It is hoped it will connect with other populations in future, through either natural expansion or further releases in the area around Loch Awe.

Gill Dowse, Knowledge & Evidence Manager, Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “The Scottish Beaver Trial was a landmark conservation project that showed how beavers can create and restore important wetland and native woodland habitats.

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