Beavers return to Scotland encourages Welsh wildlife campaigners

Welsh wildlife campaigners have welcomed the Scottish government announcement last week that the Eurasian beaver is to be formally recognised as a native species, four centuries after being hunted to extinction in Scotland. Lead partners in the Scottish Beaver Trial, the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) hailed the decision as a major success story for conservation.

Wildlife Trusts in Wales are encouraged by the decision as it will have positive implications for reintroducing beavers to Wales. The River Rheidol river in Ceredigion has previously been identified as the preferred location to reintroduce them. The Welsh Beaver Project (Prosiect Afoncod Cymru) point to the benefits and that beavers are often referred to as ‘ecosystem engineers’. They have been seen as having the potential to reduce the risk of flooding by creating dams which store rainwater. The dams can also trap sediment, which helps to filter the water and reduce the amount of pollution entering river systems. This provides ideal habitats for a range of wildlife from fungi to invertebrates, fish, mammals and birds.

The Scottish decision increases the possibility of reintroducing beavers to Welsh rivers and wildlife campaigners say this needs to be given serious consideration.

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