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Last Updated: Tuesday December 25 2007 13:49 GMT

Beaver comeback plan for Scotland

A beaver

Animal experts want to release beavers into the wild in part of Scotland for the first time in 500 years.

The cute creatures were wiped out in the country in the 16th Century because people hunted them for their fur.

Now wildlife groups want the Scottish government to let them re-introduce 20 beavers in a forest in Argyll in 2009.

They say the animals will improve the eco-system and boost tourism, but nearly half of all the people living near the forest are against the idea.

That's because some people think beavers are pests which actually wreck the environment and spoil landscapes.

One of the beavers in its box
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

Beavers are mammals which are best known for their ability to build dams and bring down trees by chewing through their trunks!

The Scottish Wildlife Trust wants to bring up to 20 of the animals over from Norway to see how they get on and what impact they have on the local environment.

If their introduction to the Scottish countryside is a success, more beavers could also be released elsewhere in the country.

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