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Tayside landowners are shooting pregnant beavers

(23 Posts)
Elegran Sun 31-Jan-16 12:01:59

It is time that Holyrood came to a decision about beavers. Are they to stay or not? Until this is settled, they have no legal status and can be shot at will. More beavers have been killed in Scotland since the end of the Knapdale trial than during its whole five years, because of frustration that no-one knew whether they would be able to claim compensation for any damage they caused. If they were officially accepted, they would come under an EU directive and the measures that could be taken to mitigate any disturbance would be clearly defined - and not include shooting, unless under license. If they are not then everyone will know just where they stand.
Pregnant beavers shot by landowners in Tayside

Scottish beavers on twitter
Scottish beavers on /facebook

Those of us who saw the fascinating presentation by Olly Hemmings two years ago know that beavers are a keystone species, creating bio-diversity wherever they colonise.

In areas where there are beavers and beaver dams, there are more fish (beavers are vegetarian, so they don't deplete fish stocks or raid fish farms) more dragonflies, more regeneration of young trees from the stumps of the 4inch thick hazel and alder they prefer to eat.

They don't ravage crops - most of their activities are within 20 metres of water, occasionally 50 metres.

They dam smaller streams, not large rivers.

The Knapdale ones have been exhaustively tested for pathogens, and are free of any which can cause damage to livestock or transfer to humans. Those Tayside individuals which have been caught and tested are also free from serious pathogens.

On the headwaters of rivers do an excellent job of creating shallow areas where extra water can be caught and slow down the flooding lower downstream.

Landowners on the flatter lower reaches of the Tay are obviously more concerned than those upstream and in Knapdale about the effect of dams, and it is here that the shootings have occurred. At the moment it is not illegal to shoot them, though it is illegal to handle the carcass, and the death should be reported to the appropriate authority who remove the animal for a post-mortem. Not all shootings are reported.

Beavers are listed on various annexes to Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora. This is given legal effect in Scotland by the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (as amended)

( Beaver management actions and derogation (licence) requirements under the Habitats Regulations2. Some of these actions may also fall within other regulatory regimes.

Non-destructive actions short of derogation e.g. beaver netting for river banks; beaver fencing for crop protection; anti-beaver paint for timber protection

Destructive actions short of derogation e.g. destruction of dams not associated with a lodge

*Actions requiring derogation* e.g. destruction of dams associated with a lodge; translocation; killing)

Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone, deputy convener of Holyrood's cross-party group on animal welfare, has called on ministers to "get off the fence"

The Scottish Environment Minister is Aileen McLeod

Elegran Sun 31-Jan-16 12:53:49

Link to a petition for a decision to be made by Aileen McLeod MSP: Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform as to whether beavers will have comprehensive legal protection in Scotland.

1,609 supporters
891 needed to reach 2,500

WilmaKnickersfit Sun 31-Jan-16 13:02:17

Signed and shared.

hildajenniJ Sun 31-Jan-16 13:55:54

Signed the petition. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. From all that I have read, beavers are good for biodiversity in their environment.

thatbags Sun 31-Jan-16 14:14:32

Thanks for flagging this up, elegran.

Granny23 Sun 31-Jan-16 14:29:58

Signed and shared with DGD who is currently in the Beavers (Scouting)

Elegran Sun 31-Jan-16 14:50:05

Numbers of signatures on the petition have gone up from 1,609 to 1,617 since I first posted. Keep signing!

Anya Sun 31-Jan-16 15:09:07

Signed and shared on Facebook.

Elegran Sun 31-Jan-16 15:51:37


loopylou Sun 31-Jan-16 16:01:27

Done and shared

Jane10 Sun 31-Jan-16 16:01:57

Signed. Should be 1622 now.

Elegran Sun 31-Jan-16 16:04:58

1623 - that'll be loopylou and Jane

dustyangel Sun 31-Jan-16 16:09:07

Signed. Thanks for flagging it up Elegran, I have cut down on petitions and would have missed this.

granjura Sun 31-Jan-16 17:02:20

Signed, thanks for the information.

baubles Sun 31-Jan-16 17:41:24

Signed & shared.

mcem Sun 31-Jan-16 17:42:10

Up to 1631. Thanks for the link.

Elegran Mon 01-Feb-16 10:09:26

1644 now.

Elegran Mon 01-Feb-16 17:54:38


Jalima Mon 01-Feb-16 18:02:42


Elegran Tue 02-Feb-16 10:22:17


SueDonim Tue 02-Feb-16 23:49:08

Thank you for the link to the petition, Elegran. My son-in-law farms in the lower Tay valley and they are thrilled that beavers have moved onto their land!

Elegran Wed 03-Feb-16 07:53:18

*SueDomin" (grin at your username) Most of the farmers and landowners are like your son, but there are always those who will kill anything that moves on their land unless they themselves chose to have it living there.

Elegran Wed 03-Feb-16 08:06:27

Typo - meant donim.