National park authority to take lead role in beavers' return

A partnership project is currently underway to bring back a ‘lost’ species to the Cairngorms National Park.

Mark Dowie
Friday, 17th June 2022, 7:00am
National park authority to take lead role in beavers' return

And the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) has committed to taking a lead role in the scheme to return Eurasian beavers to the area.

Eurasian beavers have European Protected Species status and the Scottish Government is supporting translocations as a proactive measure to establish beavers outside of their current range.

As a result of this, the CNPA has been considering its role in bringing them to a suitable location in the Park.

Potential dispersal routes include the headwaters of the River Isla.

At its recent board meeting, a range of options was outlined to members in terms of the CNPA’s role in facilitating the Scottish Government policy to actively expand the beaver population in Scotland.

Members were asked to consider what level of involvement the CNPA should adopt regarding any potential project going forward. Following an in-depth discussion, they decided on a proactive approach, wishing to take on a lead role in the process, including managing the application, delivery, mitigation support and monitoring, working alongside a range of partners.

Recommending this approach, Dr Sarah Henshall, head of conservation, said: “As an organisation we are well positioned to take a leadership role and have in place the Cairngorms Beaver group to provide input to this project.

"The park authority already undertakes a huge amount of conservation work and is therefore well placed to have the right conversations with land managers, communities and organisations as we develop this work.

“The role of the authority is to co-ordinate the management of the park area and to ensure that the aims are collectively achieved. A reintroduction of a species to the park is exactly the sort of issue the CNPA was created to lead on.”

However, Dr Henshall did stress that the CNPA’s approach will be collaborative with land managers and owners as well as communities.

By the end of this month, national agency NatureScot will identify two or three priority strategic areas for beaver expansion.

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