skip to main content

The Scottish Beaver Trial

Should the beaver be reintroduced to Scotland?
The 'Scottish Beaver Trial' aims to help give an answer to this question.

The role of Scottish Natural Heritage is to coordinate the independent monitoring of the Scottish Beaver Trial on behalf of the Scottish Government. We will publish the outputs of the monitoring work on these pages once they are ready. You'll also find information on other studies made on beavers which can also be used to inform the debate on whether they should be reintroduced, permanently, to Scotland.

The start of 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 is now underway, run by ourselves in collaboration with a range of 'Independent Monitoring Partners'. The monitoring will run for five years from the May 2009 release, with a further year at the end to allow final reports to be produced and submitted to government. Once we've done that, government will then decide on the future for beaver reintroduction to Scotland.

Information on the Trial
We will continually update these pages as the Trial progresses, but 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 Monday 2nd June 2014 at 09:57 AM. Click here to comment on this page