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Last Updated: Tuesday May 10 2005 16:47 GMT

Appeal to bring back the beaver

A beaver
Animal experts are trying to bring beavers back to Scotland.

The fluffy creatures were wiped out in the country more than 400 years ago because people hunted them for their soft fur.

Now the Scottish National Heritage has outlined plans to bring 20 beavers over from Norway, which they want to tag and release into the wild next spring.

But some locals say beavers are pests, and are like "large rats" which wreck the environment and spoil landscapes.

A beaver
Their noses and ears close up so they can survive underwater for a long time
They have big tails which act as 'rudders' to help them swim
Their teeth never stop growing!
They have to permanently chew on wood to stop their teeth getting too long
"It's more than just about introducing an endearing furry mammal back into Scotland - it's about all the other benefits the beaver brings with it, such as the creation of wetlands," said a spokeswoman for the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

If the beavers are bought back, they'll be electronically tagged and monitored for seven years to see how they get on.

Wildlife groups in Scotland will meet people from the Scottish government to find out if they can put their plans into action.

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