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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 May, 2005, 23:29 GMT 00:29 UK
Stars eager to see beaver return
About 20 beavers may be involved in the trial
The campaign to reintroduce beavers to Scotland has won celebrity backing as the plans are debated at Holyrood.

Actor Richard Wilson, singer Barbara Dickson, Rangers boss Alex McLeish and BBC wildlife presenter Chris Packham are supporting the proposals.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) wants a trial reintroduction of the animals in a forest in Argyll.

The Scottish Parliament is holding a debate on the plans and the Scottish Executive's position will be outlined.

Approve a licence

Beavers were wiped out in Scotland more than 400 years ago.

The wildlife conservation agency, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), approved the trial reintroduction at a board meeting last week.

SNH wants the executive to approve a licence to put the beavers in Forestry Commission land at Knapdale, near Lochgilphead, Argyll.

About 20 beavers would be involved in a seven-year trial.

The beavers would be brought from Norway for release as early as spring next year, after being kept in quarantine over the winter.

Mr Wilson, who played grumpy Victor Meldrew in BBC comedy One Foot In The Grave, and guest stars in the new series of Doctor Who on Saturday, said: "I don't believe Holyrood has still to commit to the trial.

Richard Wilson who played Victor Meldrew in One Foot in the Grave
It seems a wonderful idea to restore a wonderful animal back to our country
Richard Wilson

"It seems a wonderful idea to restore a wonderful animal back to our country."

Rangers manager McLeish said: "As there have been successful reintroductions of this wonderful animal in 23 European countries since the 1920s, it seems only right that Britain should become part of this success story."

The SWT's Simon Milne said: "Despite the first application for the licence being made in 2002, we await a decision. What is the problem?"

He urged the executive to make a decision by the end of May, so that beavers could be brought back by next spring.

Europe's largest rodent, the beaver lives as a family group in a semi-aquatic lifestyle on a completely vegetarian diet.

Tide turning in beavers campaign
28 Feb 05 |  Scotland
Beaver delay angers campaigners
20 Dec 02 |  Scotland
Backing for beaver's return
07 Feb 01 |  Scotland
Beaver to return to wild
20 Jan 01 |  UK News

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