Nearly 90 beavers culled last year to protect agriculture

There were also 33 beavers in Tayside who were moved to a different location.

Official figures show 87 beavers culled last year in Scotland iStock
The Scottish Government is seeking to increase the population of beavers in Scotland.

There were 87 beavers killed in Tayside last year in a move to prevent serious damage to agriculture, according to official figures.

Statistics published by NatureScot show that 120 beavers were removed in 2021 from problem areas in the region.

As well as those killed under licence, 33 beavers were moved to a different location, whilst 47 dams were also removed.

The 120 beavers in total were removed from 21 geographically restricted sites and represent around 10% of the estimated beaver population in Scotland.

NatureScot has said it is confident the move will not negatively impact on the favourable conservation status of beavers.

The Scottish Government is supporting expansion of the population across Scotland, with a new policy due to come into effect this summer.

Scotland’s biodiversity minister Lorna Slater explained that the Government will continue to encourage talks over the expansion of beaver numbers across the country.

“Restoring this previously extinct species is a major nature restoration milestone, but is also important because beavers contribute to restoring Scotland’s natural environment and help to mitigate flooding,” she said.

“Following the Scottish Government’s decision last year to actively support the expansion of the beaver population, I want to continue to see greater use of translocation and other mitigation measures to ensure that people and beavers can live side-by-side.

“We will therefore continue to encourage conversations between land managers and NatureScot to facilitate translocation and help to expand beaver numbers across the country.”

NatureScot director Robbie Kernahan said that beavers can play an “important role” in helping to restore biodiversity in Scotland.

“The proportion of beavers trapped and moved last year increased to 28% from 15% in 2019 which is good news, as we continue the work to expand the population across Scotland into new catchments. Over the next few years, we expect to see that trend continue,” said Kernahan.

“At NatureScot we are stepping up preparations for this, working with partners to develop the long-term vision for Scotland that we need.

“We expect the Scottish Beaver Strategy to be finalised this summer and then we will begin processing applications for new releases outside the Tayside and Knapdale catchments.

“Beavers can play an important role in helping to restore biodiversity and respond to the climate emergency in Scotland and we aim to see further releases into new catchments in Scotland this year.”