Reacting to news that two beavers trapped near Beauly have died in captivity, Trees for Life Chief Executive Steve Micklewright said: “We are deeply saddened that the Beauly family of beavers has now been split up and two of them have died in captivity.
“Beavers have been in the area for five to eight years, with no local concerns or controversy. Many people had no idea they were there.”
After the family of beavers was found living on a river in the Beauly area in the Scottish Highlands earlier this year, Scottish Government ministers said they would be trapped and put into captivity.
Trees for Life – the conservation charity that discovered the group – has said that the beaver family should either stay where they are or be relocated locally.
Beavers have recently been recognised by the Scottish government as a native species.
“Native species require protection. The government should have explored all other options before trapping and removing this beaver family,” said Steve Micklewright.
“While the cause of death of the beavers is being investigated, they are likely to have been in good body condition, because they were in good quality habitat with plenty of food available.”
Trees for Life recently wrote to Scottish Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham about the possible welfare risks of trapping beavers at the outset of winter, and questioned the wisdom of splitting up a family of beavers with young kits at this time of year, but received no reply.
Trees for Life has been discussing the presence of beavers around Beauly with landowners and other local people for some time.
“We think there is potential for beavers and people to continue to coexist in the Beauly area without controversy and conflict,” said Steve Micklewright.
Trees for Life is an award-winning charity working to restore the native Caledonian Forest and its unique wildlife to the spectacular Highlands of Scotland, including to its 10,000-acre Dundreggan Conservation Estate.