Sunday, 24 March 2013

Knapdale Beaver Trial - A Brief History 2009 - early 2013

The five year trial ends in 2014 with a decision on the re-introduction of beavers to be made in 2015. In the meantime, there are about 150 beavers living wild on Tayside. These beavers are the result of escapes from captive collections and have been known about for at least 10 years which was before the start of the Knapdale Trial with its £2 million price tag. Attempts to remove them in 2010 were a complete fiasco - only one was trapped and it subsequently died in Edinburgh Zoo. At the time, numbers were estimated to be between 6 and 20 animals. A survey by SNH in 2012 established that there are about 150 beavers. Removal was considered impractical and politically inadvisable and so the Minister at the time decided to allow the beavers to remain until the end of the Knapdale Trial when a decision will be made. While 150 beavers on Tayside at no cost to the taxpayer continue to flourish, the 12 beavers in Knapdale continue to be studied, trapped and tested to ascertain whether or not beavers will be beneficial to the British environment. May 2009 11 beavers released in Knapdale Loch Linne 2009 Adult Pair (Frid & Frank) Male Juvenile (Biffa) and Male Kit - kit died shortly after release, juvenile dispersed Total 2 beavers 2010 Adult Pair, sub-adult Male (Biffa) dispersed plus one kit born (Barney). Total 3 beavers 2011 Adult Pair, juvenile Male (Barney), one male kit born. Total 4 beavers 2012 Adult Pair, I sub-adult (Barney), one male juvenile, one female kit born, later found dead. Total 4 beavers Loch Coille Bharr/Dubh Loch 2009 Adult Pair, Two Female Juveniles - one female juvenile disappeared during the first year. Total 3 beavers 2010 Adult Pair (Bjornar & Katrina), One Female Juvenile (Mille) plus one kit born. Total 4 beavers 2011 Adult Pair, (Bjornar & Katrina) One Female Sub adult, one juvenile, (gender not known) one kit born later found dead Total 4 beavers 2012 Adult Pair, One Female Sub adult, three kits born from pairing of Adult male and formerly sub-adult female. 2010 kit missing. Total 6 beavers. 2013 Adult pair (Bjornar & Mille) moved to Coille Bharr, Adult female (Katrina) remaining on Dubh Loch. Three kits disappeared unaccounted for. Total 3 beavers Loch Creag Mhor 2009 Adult Pair, One Female Kit - dispersed shortly after release. Adult Male found at Craignish, 10 miles north of release site. Returned to site but later died in Edinburgh Zoo. Adult female and kit seen around Crinan Canal and signs found at Drimvore and on Shuna (island off the west coast near Oban) but beavers not recovered and are believed to be dead 2010 Sub-adult beaver pair released - Eoghan and Elaine. Total 2 beavers 2011 Sub adult pair. Eoghan swapped places with Seafield Loch male Christian. No kits. Total 2 beavers 2012 Adult pair (Christian and Elaine). No kits. Total 2 beavers. Lily Loch/Seafield Loch (called Loch Buic by Trial) 2010 Adult Male and Sub Adult female (Trude) pair released on Lily Loch. Adult male died soon after. Female moved to Seafield Loch. Later another male beaver (Christian) was released to join her. Total 2 beavers 2011 Adult Pair (Trude & Eoghan - Christian moved to Creag Mhor Loch). No kits Total 2 beavers 2012 Adult Pair, one female kit born. Total 3 beavers In total, 16 beavers have been released, 9 beavers have been born - Total 25. 5 beavers have died and 8 are unaccounted for, presumed dead. There are currently 12 beavers in the trial (March 2013).