About the trial

What is the Scottish Beaver Trial?

The Scottish Beaver Trial is a unique and exciting conservation project. Wild beavers have been reintroduced back into Scotland after being extinct in the UK for over 400 years. It is the first official project of its kind in Britain and a groundbreaking five year study to explore how beavers can enhance and restore natural environments.

The beavers were released into Knapdale Forest in the Heart of Argyll in 2009. They have since been busy settling into their new home; from building lodges to nurturing newborn family members. Four beaver families have now been reintroduced and visitors are welcome to explore this stunning woodland and spot the signs of beaver activity.

Watch the beaver reintroduction releases here:

Who is managing the project?

The Scottish Beaver Trial is a partnership project between the Scottish Wildlife Trust, The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and host partner Forestry Commission Scotland. In May 2008, the Scottish Government approved an application submitted by the three partners for a five-year trial reintroduction of the Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber) in Argyll.

Throughout the Trial, an independent scientific monitoring programme has been carried out by Scottish Natural Heritage to assess the effect beavers have on the local environment. The results of the Trial will help decide the future of beavers in Scotland.

Why reintroduce beavers?

Beavers are a native species to the UK, hunted to extinction in the 16th Century. By modifying their surroundings through coppicing, feeding and, in some cases, damming, beavers create ponds and wetlands which attract other species, provide a food source to others, and can even help improve water quality. For this reason, they are known as a 'keystone' species.

Further information

The Trial has put together a series of answers to the most commonly asked questions about the project. Click here to see our Frequently Asked Questions.

Click here to watch further videos of the Scottish Beaver Trial team in action.

Project partners

The Royal Zoological Society of ScotlandScottish Wildlife Trust
Forestry Commission Scotland

Beaver blog latest

    Comments of support

    "The Scottish Beaver Trial has been widely anticipated in Argyll and Bute. I am fully supportive of the project and look forward to the day when beavers are back in Knapdale Forest." - Councillor Donald MacMillan

    With thanks to

    Beaver Trial Supporters
    People's Postcode Lottery

    See our other supporters

    The Royal Zoological Society of ScotlandScottish Wildlife Trust


    Beavers are back in Scotland!

    On 24 November 2016, the Scottish Government made the landmark announcement that beavers are to remain in Scotland. This is the first time that a mammal has been formally reintroduced in UK history.

    The trial population of beavers remains in Knapdale, and the Scottish Beaver partners are now focussing their efforts on re-enforcing this population to ensure its long term future.

    Boosting the Knapdale beaver population

    For updates on the beaver re-enforcement project, please visit the website of the Scottish Wildlife Trust or the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland by clicking on the adjacent logos.

    The Scottish Beaver Trial website

    Now that the Trial has ended, this website will no longer be updated. However, if you would like to browse our historical records on the website, please click the button to continue.

    Scottish Beaver Trial RZSS Scottish Wildlife Trust