Azara Blog: Beavers being re-introduced into Scotland

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Date published: 2008/05/25

The BBC says:

The European beaver is to be reintroduced to Scotland for the first time in more than 400 years, the Scottish Government has announced.

Environment Minister Michael Russell has given the go-ahead for up to four beaver families to be released in Knapdale, Argyll, on a trial basis.

The beavers will be caught in Norway and released in spring 2009.

Mr Russell said: "This is an exciting development for wildlife enthusiasts all over Scotland and beyond."

The beavers, which will be captured in autumn 2008, will be put into quarantine for six months before three to four families are released. Five lochs have been proposed for the release.

This will be the first-ever formal reintroduction of a native mammal into the wild in the UK.

The trial will be run over five years by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) monitoring the project.

Mr Russell added: "The beaver was hunted to extinction in this country in the 16th Century and I am delighted that this wonderful species will be making a comeback.

This is not really the "reintroduction of a native mammal" since these beavers are not the same as the ones that were hunted to extinction half a millennium ago. Beavers are wonderful creatures but this reintroduction is really no better (and no worse) than the introduction of any random species. It is humans playing god. In the (low probability) event that this causes some serious environmental or economic repercussions, will any of these people who are pushing for this reintroduction (for no great reason) going to face any consequences?

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