CNPA Board agrees to take the lead in bringing beavers to the Park - Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA)

The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) has committed to taking a lead role in bringing Eurasian beavers to the Park, working with partners to restore a ‘lost’ species.

beaver head above muddy brown water holding onto vegetation with it's front paws
Beaver (credit: Paul Stevenson)

Eurasian beavers have European Protected Species status and the Scottish Government is supporting translocations as a proactive measure to establish beavers outside of their current range. As a result of this, the CNPA has been considering its role in bringing them to a suitable location in the Park.

At today’s (Friday 10th June) board meeting, a range of options were outlined to members in terms of the CNPA’s role in facilitating the Scottish Government policy to actively expand the beaver population in Scotland.

Members were asked to consider what level of involvement the CNPA should adopt regarding any potential project going forward. Following an in depth discussion, the board decided on a proactive approach, wishing to take on a lead role in the process, including managing the application, delivery, mitigation support and monitoring, working alongside a range of partners.

By the end of June, NatureScot will identify two or three priority strategic areas for beaver expansion in Scotland and – with partners – are establishing the governance structures, protocols, procedures, and consultation mechanisms to facilitate expansion. Modelling work is also being undertaken at a national level and ongoing work has identified the Spey catchment as one of the priority candidates for release, with approximately 7,000 ha of highly suitable habitat in the Spey catchment area.

Today’s meeting follows on from the publication in April of a CNPA commissioned study into the likelihood of the Cairngorms National Park being naturally colonised by Eurasian beaver and the potential benefits and implications.

Xander McDade, Convener of the CNPA board commented: “I fully support the recommended approach in terms of the Park Authority’s role in bringing beavers to the Cairngorms National Park. Beavers can bring wide ranging benefits to biodiversity and can play an important ecological role in terms of flood mitigation and habitat restoration, whilst 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.”

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Posted On: 10/06/2022

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