Scottish Farmers Warn Of Beavers Threat To Agricultural Land

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News in brief: Scottish farmers are concerned about beavers causing damage to agricultural land as the government expands its reintroduction plans. While some argue that beavers can harm crops and waterways, others see them as vital for the Scottish ecosystem, sparking an ongoing debate.

Beavers are felling trees and risk devastating prime agricultural land in Scotland, farmers have warned, as the Scottish Government expands its plans to reintroduce the animals to the country.

NatureScot, the Scottish Government quango responsible for nature conservation, has approved plans to trap and move up to four families of beavers to land in Argyll and Tayside, from areas where they are causing damages to farms.

Separately, Cairngorms National Park has revealed that it is set to apply for a licence to release more than a dozen beavers at three sites in the upper Spey valley, in what will be the first reintroduction of wild beavers to the Highlands.

Beavers were hunted to extinction in Scotland in the 16th century, but numbers have risen rapidly in recent decades due to illegal reintroductions, followed by an authorised release of the animals in 2009.

Numbers are now believed to be well over 1,000, with populations expanding from agreed sites to private land.

NatureScot has begun to grant licences to move animals from areas in which they damage farmland, but the policy has provoked opposition from farmers close to new areas where they will be released.

Farmers argue that beavers can cause significant damage to crops and trees, and that they can also block waterways and cause flooding. They are also concerned that the spread of beavers could lead to the spread of disease.

NatureScot says that beavers are an important part of the Scottish ecosystem, and that they can help to improve water quality and biodiversity. The agency says that it will work closely with farmers to mitigate any negative impacts caused by beavers.

The debate over beavers in Scotland is likely to continue as the population of the animals continues to grow.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.

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