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Scottish beavers given protected status
"Granting beavers protected status is an important milestone for the return of the species to Scotland’s lochs and rivers."

Charities welcome move that will enable species to expand its range

A new law has come into force in Scotland giving beavers protected status.

The legislation took effect on Wednesday (1 May) making it illegal to shoot beavers and destroy their dams and lodges without a licence. Conservationists say the move is ‘an important step’ to enable the species ‘to expand its range’.

Welcoming the move, Jo Pike of the Scottish Wildlife Trust said that “beavers are unrivalled as ecosystem engineers.”

She added that “granting beavers protected status is an important milestone for the return of the species to Scotland’s lochs and rivers. It follows decades of work by countless organisations and individuals to demonstrate the positive impacts that beavers can have.”

Barbara Smith of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) added: “The granting of European Protected Status is a vital step in welcoming beavers back as a natural part of our ecosystem and a most welcome success as part of wider and continued efforts to protect and enhance our natural heritage.”

Scotland is home to around 450 beavers that live in two separate populations (mid-Argyll and Tayside). Beavers and the dams they build have widespread benefits to the environment, including reducing the risk of flooding and increased biodiversity.

The legislation was first announced by environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham in February. But despite being welcomed by conservation charities, some farmers have expressed concern over the negative impact beaver dams may have on their land.

Adrian Ivory, who manages a farm in Perthshire, told BBC News that he had to destroy his crop after beavers built a dam on a nearby waterway.

"The big problem for us with the dams is that it costs me as a business £4,000-£5,000 a year, pulling dams out of watercourses, trying to sort banks out,”. These are problems that we shouldn't really be having to deal with,” he said.

"We are trying to produce quality food for the population to eat and this is just causing real problems and a cost to my business."

Image (C) Per Harald Olsen/NTNU.

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RSPCA braced for ‘hectic hedgehog month’

News Story 1
 The RSPCA says that it is bracing itself for a ‘hectic hedgehog month’ after calls to the charity about the creatures peaked this time last year.

More than 10,000 calls about hedgehogs were made to the RSPCA’s national helpline in 2018, 1,867 of which were in July. This compares with just 133 calls received in February of the same year.

Evie Button, the RSPCA’s scientific officer, said: “July is our busiest month for hedgehogs. Not only do calls about hedgehogs peak, but so do admissions to our four wildlife centres as members of the public and our own officers bring in orphaned, sick or injured animals for treatment and rehabilitation.” 

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ASF traces found in seized meat at NI airport

More than 300kg of illegal meat and dairy products were seized at Northern Ireland’s airports in June, DAERA has revealed.

A sample of these were tested at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, resulting in the detection of African swine fever DNA fragments.

DAERA said that while the discovery does not pose a significant threat to Northern Ireland’s animal health status, it underlines the importance of controls placed on personal imports of meat and dairy products. Holidaymakers travelling overseas are being reminded not to bring any animal or plant products back home.