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Beavers were once native to Scotland, but they were hunted to extinction in the 16th Century. As natural engineers, they are an important part of the ecosystem, creating new wetlands that are home to a wide variety of species including dragonflies, otters and fish.
Between 2009 and 2014, Knapdale was the site of the pioneering Scottish Beaver Trial. Over five years, the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and Forestry Commission Scotland worked in partnership to conduct one of the largest field trials of its kind in Europe, releasing a total of 16 beavers into the wild.
Following a comprehensive monitoring programme carried out by Scottish Natural Heritage to assess the effect that the released beavers had on the local environment, a report was published and presented to the Scottish Government. In November 2016, the Scottish Government announced that beavers would be allowed to remain in Scotland – a milestone moment marking the first successful reintroduction of a mammal in the UK.
In October 2017, the Scottish Wildlife Trust and RZSS began a three-year project to reinforce the beaver population in Knapdale. For more information, visit the Scottish Wildlife Trust or RZSS websites.
To find out more about beavers, click here.
To find out more about visiting Knapdale, click here.