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The Scottish Beaver Trial

Should the beaver be reintroduced to Scotland?
The 'Scottish Beaver Trial' is one of several projects that aims to help give an answer to this question.

The role of Scottish Natural Heritage has been to coordinate the independent monitoring of the Scottish Beaver Trial on behalf of the Scottish Government. The monitoring fieldwork finished in May 2014, and we are now in the process of organising and publishing the final reports. They will made available on these pages  once they are ready.

Other major beaver projects have included the work of the Tayside Beaver Study Group external site , the Beaver Salmonid Working Group  and a range of other studies being undertaken by ourselves and others. We will be collating the outputs of all these studies and reporting to the Minister for Environment and Climate Change by the end of May 2015. The Minister will then use this information to make a decision on the future of beavers, and beaver reintroduction, in Scotland.

You can find out more about the wide range of work being done by looking at our chapter on beaver in the Species Action Framework Handbook. A catalogue of some of our beaver-related reports and outputs can also be found on these pages

The Scottish Beaver Trial
In May 2008, the Scottish Government gave permission to the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust for a scientifically monitored, trial reintroduction of European beavers to Knapdale Forest in mid-Argyll. However, there were some conditions, including the need for the monitoring to be done independently, and coordinated by Scottish Natural Heritage.

One year later, and following much detailed preparation, beavers were finally released at Knapdale. This was the first time a species of mammal was reintroduced, legally, anywhere in Britain in the wild. A programme of monitoring was organised by ourselves in collaboration with a range of 'Independent Monitoring Partners'. The monitoring ran for five years from the May 2009 release until May 2014.

You can contact us at if you want to find out more about our work.


Riparian woodland on the shoreline of a small loch at proposed Beaver trial site. © Lorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or

The Monitoring Programme

Take a look at the various projects being done for the monitoring of the Trial and the organisations involved.

Beaver grazed birch - Norway. ©Martin Gaywood/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or

Other Work on Beavers

Find out about our other studies on the feasibility and desirability of reintroducing beavers.

Last updated on Wednesday 28th January 2015 at 13:24 PM. Click here to comment on this page