Page last updated at 10:56 GMT, Thursday, 6 August 2009 11:56 UK

Gunshot riddle as beaver vanishes

Reintroduced beaver
The beavers are tagged to help with the monitoring of their progress

Police are investigating reports that a beaver reintroduced to the wild in Argyll has been shot.

Eleven beavers were released on three lochs in Knapdale Forest in May. However the project team said one had since died and two others are missing.

One of the animals, an adult female, went missing on 6 June after gunshots were reported in the area.

The animals, not seen in the wilds of Scotland for 400 years, were brought from Norway.

Conservationists have since been monitoring their progress using tracking data.

We are obviously concerned that there could to be a link between her disappearance and the unauthorised shooting and the local police have been informed
Simon Jones
Scottish Beaver Trial

According to the Scottish Beaver Trial, a juvenile male died shortly after being settled with three other beavers at Loch Linne.

The results of a post-mortem examination into the cause of the death were inconclusive.

The adult female then disappeared at Creag Mhor Loch in June when unauthorised gunshots were heard in the area.

This was followed by the disappearance of a juvenile female who was lost on 15 July.

Simon Jones, the Scottish Beaver Trial project manager, said staff were working around the clock to try and locate the missing animals.

He said: "We are obviously concerned that there could to be a link between her disappearance and the unauthorised shooting and the local police have been informed.

"We suspect that the noise from the shooting has disturbed these animals even if no direct link between the shooting and disappearance is found."



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