A FAMILY of beavers have been successfully moved to Loch Lomond, marking another major milestone for the species’ return in Scotland.

A family group of seven beavers has been moved to the Loch Lomond Nature Reserve with a helping hand from Lorna Slater.

It is only the third location in Scotland where a beaver translocation has taken place since the species’ reintroduction in 2009.

RSPB Scotland, the charity leading the effort, anticipates the beavers will create and enhance habitats and boost biodiversity, helping to address both the climate and nature emergencies.

The National: Some of the beavers were initially a little unsure of their new environmentSome of the beavers were initially a little unsure of their new environment (Image: NatureScot)

The charity’s director Anne McCall said: “We are delighted to have been able to offer a home to this family of beavers, speeding up their return to Loch Lomond.

“The National Nature Reserve, with its mix of open water, fen and wet woodland is a perfect place for them. As nature’s engineers they manage and create habitats in ways we could never hope to replicate.”

The licence to move beavers, known as “nature’s engineers”, to the area was granted late last year by government agency NatureScot.

Following this, the family of beavers were captured and then underwent a series of health checks and tests at the Five Sisters Zoo, in West Lothian, where they were held until being taken to the RSPB Scotland nature reserve last Friday to be released.

On the day, the beavers were released with just ten people present to minimise any possible stress to the animals.  

Each beaver seemed to have a different reaction to being released for the first time with two initially returning to their crates.

The National: Beavers can help create wetland habitats for a range of other speciesBeavers can help create wetland habitats for a range of other species (Image: The Beaver Trust)

The female’s crate was opened last and she immediately entered the water with a big tail slap and then the whole family were away to explore their new home on the floodplain of the River Endrick.

Slater said: “It’s been a delight to witness the translocation of this family of beavers to their new home in the Loch Lomond Nature Reserve.

“This once lost species were driven to extinction in Scotland, but are becoming an established part of our natural environment once again.

“Now children growing up in Scotland will grow up alongside beavers – learning about the amazing things that they do, like natural flood management, and creating wetland habitats that support a range of other species.

“This represents an amazing story of regaining something that was lost, of getting that abundance back and passing on a nature-positive legacy for future generations.

“I am thankful to NatureScot and the RSPB for their work with this particular project and others like it, supporting the expansion of beavers populations across Scotland.”

Both the animals and the habitat will now be closely monitored by staff to see how they settle in and begin to modify the wetland.

This includes remote monitoring of water levels, using camera traps to directly monitor beavers and mapping field signs of beaver activity.

NatureScot chief executive Francesca Osowska said: “It’s incredibly exciting to see beavers return to Loch Lomond, marking an important step in helping to restore biodiversity and respond to the climate emergency in Scotland.

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“Our surveys have shown that beavers are likely to have been present in the catchment since at least 2019, and this family well help to speed up that natural colonisation process.

“In doing so they will bring a wide range of benefits for biodiversity in the nature reserve and the wider National Park – from creating ponds and wetlands where other species can thrive, to helping natural floodplain functioning and improving water quality.”