Its future, however, remains in jeopardy. Amid the celebrations, 32 licences had been requested to control the newly established animal, with 28 issued for dam removal or lethal control. We now know that, from this date until the end of the year, 87 beavers were legally killed in the catchments of the River Isla, Earn and Tay. Our habitat-creating, biodiversity-boosting, flood-preventing friend finds itself – once again – at a crossroads.
In one direction, its future looks bright, with the potential for moving beavers within Scotland to enable a greater and quicker expansion of its range, bringing their ecological benefits to more wildlife and people. The course we’re currently on looks bleaker, with shooting and other control measures in place to appease a minority. Right now, this is taking precedence over moving them to new areas. A shift in policy is urgently needed, particularly when there’s so much suitable habitat and a growing number of forward-thinking landowners, who would love to have these aquatic engineers working their magic on their land, breathing new life into rivers, lochs, wetland and woodland.