The beaver's reintroduction to the UK: what do you think?
Guest blogger: The Springwatch Adventure Team Producer Richard Taylor-Jones asks what you think about the reintroduction of beavers to the UK.
Beavers are once again living wild in the British Isles. It's an idea I've heard talked about pretty much ever since I've worked in wildlife television. But it's never come to pass, until now.
Beaver and reeds © Scottish Wildlife Trust
To be in Knapdale, filming them for Springwatch, is an incredibly exciting prospect. Yet in the back of my mind I know that this reintroduction of beavers onto four remote Scottish lochs by the Scottish Beaver Trial is only the beginning of a very long road if we are to see beavers back right across the British Isles.
Beaver and kit © Scottish Wildlife Trust
Their presence here may only be temporary. The trial could conclude that re-introducing these animals simply won't work. It's designed to look at a whole range of issues from whether beavers are capable of surviving here and creating a sustainable population to how they will impact on fish stocks and water tables.
There are some very loud and vociferous opponents to the trial, just as there are supporters. All will have their say over the five years the beavers are being studied. What we hope to do on Springwatch 2011 is reacquaint the British nation with this animal, one that has been absent from our ecosystem for 400 years.
We want to show viewers just what makes beavers tick along with what they will do to the landscape they've been put in. We will touch on the debates surrounding their re-introduction too. I hope by the end of our time here we will all have a better idea of what the trial is setting out to achieve and be able to form an opinion about whether beavers belong in modern Britain.
Beaver on the bank © Scottish Wildlife Trust
I'm fascinated to know what you, the viewers, think about this species' return to our shores and would love to hear your thoughts.
Watch Richard and Charlie Hamilton James's first report from Knapdale on BBC Two at 8pm, Monday 30 May