A survey of the beaver population of the Scottish region of Tayside has shown an increase when compared to a previous study from 2012.
Carried out by the University of Exeter on behalf of Scottish National Heritage (SNH), estimated numbers increased from 150 in 40 active beaver regions in the 2012 survey, to 430 in 100 regions in 2017-8.
The survey, whose purpose was to document Scotland’s largest beaver population, will also inform the management of the effects of beavers. According to SNH’s Director of Sustainable Growth Nick Halfhide, the dams they build can “improve local water quality and help nurture wildlife”, while being able to “cause problems, particularly in areas with prime agricultural land.”
The findings will allow the development and trialling of new techniques to allow management of the population. The University of Exeter’s Professor Richard Brazier notes the survey’s “wide ranging value for informing policy and management strategies surrounding beaver reintroduction”.
The survey as a whole provides a “wealth of information” into free-living beaver populations, in Scotland and beyond.