Glasgow & West Scotland

Baby beaver trio filmed in Argyll forest

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Media captionThree young beavers born in Knapdale Forest are seen thriving in video footage taken by Scottish Beaver Trial officers

A project to bring back beavers to part of Scotland has seen further success, after three new babies were spotted.

The young beavers, known as kits, have been seen in Argyll's Knapdale Forest, bringing the total number at the site to 15.

All three were born on Dubh Loch, to the same family. It is the largest number to be born in any year since the Scottish Beaver Trial started in 2009.

Beavers were hunted to extinction in Scotland in the 16th century.

Footage of the kits was captured by trial staff.

Roisin Campbell-Palmer, a manager with the beaver trial, said of the new arrivals: "This family has bred every year since release, but only giving birth to one kit each year.

"Unfortunately, last year's kit didn't survive, so seeing three newly emerged kits is really great news for the trial, because it's a boost to the beaver population."

'Woodland managers'

She added: "We now have 15 beavers at Knapdale, including six who were born at the trial site.

"We are hoping for even more kits this season, at Loch Linne and Lochan Beag. The beavers at Loch Linne have also produced kits every year of the trial so far."

The trial, a five-year project, was set up to assess the impact of wild beavers in Scotland under a partnership between the Scottish Wildlife Trust, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and Forestry Commission Scotland.

The beavers have been described as "natural woodland managers" as they go about their daily business of building dams and expanding their habitat, but critics of the trial, which include anglers, have raised concern about the environmental impact.

Scottish Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson, said: "I am pleased to see the beaver trial population thriving with the arrival of three new kits - I look forward to watching their progress in future."

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