FAQ: How do we know that beavers were once in Scotland?

Beaver fossils are rare in Scotland due to the poor conditions for the preservation of bone, except in limestone cave areas. Efforts to find fossils of this kind have been limited in the west of Scotland. However, fossils which have been found suggest that beavers lived in Scotland for almost 8,000 years. Historical records show that beavers were formerly commercially exploited in Scotland and may have survived around Loch Ness until at least the early 16th century.  Intriguingly, a Gaelic name for the beaver, losleathan or dobhran losleathan (broad-tail or broad-tailed otter), survived as an oral tradition until the late 18th/early 19th century in Lochaber, Argyll, which suggests that the beaver may have survived in the west of Scotland until much more recently.

Beavers are a missing element in our native biodiversity and bring many benefits to their local environments. Click here to find out more.



Project partners

The Royal Zoological Society of ScotlandScottish Wildlife Trust
Forestry Commission Scotland

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    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