FAQ: How many beavers were released and what has happened to them?

Click here to see a family tree of the Scottish Beaver Trial animals.

Between May 2009 and September 2010 16 beavers were released into the Knapdale Trial area in five distinct family groups. All releases followed strict Scottish Government licence conditions and were monitored by veterinary surgeons. Following release all beavers are closely monitored through visual observations and remote camera traps by Scottish Beaver Trial field staff.

In May 2009 a family of four beavers (adult pair + two juvenile females) was released into Loch Coille Bharr. One juvenile female dispersed soon after release and has not been recorded since that time. The remaining family members moved to the nearby Dubh Loch in the late summer of 2009 and they have remained there since. The adult pair bred and produced a single kit in the spring of 2010. Another single kit was born in the spring of 2011 but sadly didn't survive. Three new kits belonging to this family were observed in July 2012.

Also in May 2009 another family of four beavers (adult pair + two male juvenile males) were released onto Loch Linne. Unfortunately one of the juveniles died within hours of release, although a post mortem was inconclusive. The remaining family members are still resident on Loch Linne and the adult pair bred and produced a single kit in spring 2010. Another single kit, sexed as male, was produced during the breeding season of 2011. Sadly, a young female kit born to the pair in 2012 was found dead in the September of that year.

The final release in May 2009 saw a family of three beavers (adult pair + one female kit) released onto Creagh Mhor loch. For reasons unknown this entire family disappeared from this site only a few days after release and only the adult male has subsequently been recaptured. He was found approximately 10kms north of the trial area living in a woodland burn close to the coast. After an initial relocation back into the trial area this beaver was found to be in poor condition and, following expert veterinary advice, was taken back into captivity in Edinburgh Zoo, where he unfortunately died several weeks later. The adult female and kit remain unaccounted for.

In May 2010 a fourth family, comprising of a young female and older adult male without offspring, were released at Knapdale to a site known locally as the 'Lily Loch'. Sadly the male died shortly after release, failing to adapt to life back in the wild and the lone female then moved to the nearby Loch Buic, where she remains (the pair were originally put together in captivity). In September 2010 a replacement young male beaver was released onto the loch and appeared to settle with the resident female. However in 2011, the male dispersed for a short period and relocated to Lochan Beag where he now resides with this loch's resident female.

In June 2010 a fifth pair (young male and female) was released, this time to act as replacements for the original family from Creagh Mhor Loch. The female remains resident on this loch and the neighbouring Lochan Beag, alongside the adult male that relocated from Loch Buic. Subsequently, the original male from Creagh Mhor Loch/Lochan Beag has now partnered up with the female on Loch Buic.



Project partners

The Royal Zoological Society of ScotlandScottish Wildlife Trust
Forestry Commission Scotland

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    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

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    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