According to a press release by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), around 146 beavers are now established in about 40 family groups in the Tayside region of Scotland. They originated from accidental escapes or deliberate releases around 2006.
The Tayside results come from surveys in 2012 by the Tayside Beaver Study Group. The group has contacted landowners across the region, to ask if they have suffered any problems due to beaver activity on their land. Beavers can fell trees, build dams, create lakes, and radically alter the ecosystems in which they live. From a conservation perspective, many believe they add a natural character that has been lost from many British landscapes since the beaver's extinction in Britain around 400 years ago.
The 'unofficial' Tayside population has now spread across a wide area, including Perth, Crieff and Kinloch Rannoch. Following long consultation, a separate and official introduction is under way in mid-Argyll on the west of Scotland.
Read the full story on the SNH website here.