Beavers are back - and the public is delighted
The return of beavers to the Scottish countryside has been hailed as the wildlife success of the year.
Charities were instrumental to the success of the programme, which saw them become established at a trial sites – the first wild animals in the country since they were hunted to extinction in the 16th centrury.
The public voted for the reintroduction to be named BBC Countryfile magazine’s wildlife event of the year.
The award has been welcomed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) and Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), the two lead partners in the Scottish Beaver Trial at Knapdale, Argyll.
Susan Davies, director of conservation at SWT, said: “The reintroduction of beavers to our lochs and rivers is a true success story, a milestone for conservation, and a huge opportunity for restoring important habitats. I’d like to thank the thousands of people who gave the species their support and helped beavers to win this important award.”
Barbara Smith, chief executive of the RZSS, said: "We’re delighted to see the return of beavers recognised by readers of BBC Countryfile Magazine and the wider public.
“This award is another example of the continued public support for beavers both in Knapdale and across the country. This is vital if the species is to re-establish itself across much of its former range in Scotland and further afield.”
The Scottish Government announced in November 2016 that the species would be formally recognised as a native species, 400 years after being hunted to extinction in the UK.
This makes it the first formal mammal reintroduction in UK history and a real success story for Scottish conservation.