Some 400 years after they were hunted to extinction in Britain for their fur and medicinal oils, beavers are to live in the wild again. Up to 20 will be set free in a secluded forest in south-west Scotland, ministers in Edinburgh said yesterday. The initiative is expected to be the first in a series of projects to reintroduce the beaver throughout Britain over the next few years.
Conservationists in Wales will unveil plans this week to find up to five locations where the beaver, Europe's largest rodent, could eventually be released.
Next month, Natural England, the government conservation agency, will publish a study on the feasibility of reintroducing beavers in areas such as Devon, Dorset, the Thames valley, East Anglia or the Lake District.
In the first of these projects, between 15 and 20 beavers will be set free beside five small lochs in Knapdale, south of the Crinan canal near Lochgilphead in Argyll.
Up to four families of wild beavers are being flown in from Norway this autumn, and will be released next spring by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and Royal Zoological Society of Scotland after they are quarantined and acclimatised.
|Up to four families of beavers are to be released in a secluded forest in south-west Scotland.