BBC Home
Explore the BBC



Last Updated: Monday May 26 2008 14:10 GMT

Beavers to make Scottish comeback

A beaver

Beavers are set to make a comeback in Scotland for the first time in hundreds of years.

The cute critters were wiped out way back in the 16th Century by hunters who caught them to sell their fur.

Wildlife groups have been campaigning to be allowed to reintroduce the big-toothed animals in some areas, and now the Scottish government has agreed.

Up to four beaver families from Norway will be released in Argyll, in spring 2009, as part of a five-year trial.

Beaver fact file
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
Scotland's environment minister Michal Russell said: "This is an exciting development for wildlife enthusiasts all over Scotland and beyond."

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

Welsh plans

During the five-year trial, the Scottish Wildlife Trust will keep an eye on the beavers to see how they get on and what impact they have on the local environment.

If they do well, more beavers may be released elsewhere in the country.

Meanwhile, wildlife experts in Wales are also considering plans to reintroduce the animals to the Welsh countryside.