Licence approved for beaver release in Cairngorms


Eurasian Beavers are to be released at different sites in the Cairngorms National Park after NatureScot approved a licence application for the project.

The park authority, RSPB Scotland and landowners Rothiemurchus Estate and Wildland Cairngorms are involved in the proposals, which will see six beaver families released into the wild. The approval also allows for future additional releases at other sites over the next five years up to a total of 15 beaver families.

Eurasian Beaver was first reintroduced to Scotland in 2009 (David Parkyn / Cornwall Wildlife Trust).

NatureScot said sites in the upper River Spey catchment had been selected for beavers. Donald Fraser, NatureScot's head of wildlife management, said: "We are satisfied that the monitoring and mitigation plans set out by the Cairngorms National Park Authority, alongside our existing Beaver Mitigation Scheme, will sufficiently address any potential conflicts that may arise."

Three sites have been chosen: the Rothiemurchus Estate, near Aviemore;  RSPB Scotland's Insh Marshes, near Kingussie; and land managed by Wildland Cairngorms – a company owned by billionaires Anne and Anders Holch Povlsens.

Karen Birkby, site manager at Insh Marshes RSPB, said: "We are very pleased that a licence to move beavers into the Cairngorms National Park has been granted allowing us to be one of the three initial release sites. The return of beavers should ultimately help us achieve our long-term vision for Insh Marshes – to improve the functioning of the River Spey and its floodplain for nature and people. We look forward to welcoming beavers back to Insh Marshes at some point next year – they will bring many benefits to other wildlife and naturally adapt the nature reserve in ways we could never hope to replicate."