Beavers return to Scotland after 400 years
Beavers have been reintroduced into the wild in Argyll, Scotland, after 400 years of being absent. Eleven beavers are part of a reintroduction program brought from Norway to study whether beavers can survive again in the country.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust is carrying out the Beaver Trial and Simon Jones, the project manager, said that the release went very well.
"They were placed into purpose-built artificial lodges at carefully selected points around the trial site," he said.
"They will now gradually gnaw their way out of the lodge at a pace that is comfortable for them before exploring their new surroundings."
Now however, the real work begins.
He added: "First and foremost, this is a scientific study of how the beavers cope naturally in the Scottish environment and what effect they have upon it.
"We will be closely tracking the beavers' activities and collecting data over the next five years to help inform the independent scientific monitoring.
However, the Salmon Fishery Boards are not happy with the scheme, saying it will have too much impact on fish stocks. The beavers could alter the fish habits, which could mean less fish spawning and therefore less populations.
But Allan Bantick, chair of the Scottish Beaver Trial, believes the programme is a step forward in "rebuilding the natural biodiversity of Scotland".
"Our critics worry that beavers might pose a risk to migratory fish numbers, including salmon," he said.
"This has not been found to be the case anywhere else in Europe.
"However, the notion cannot be tested with this trial because there is no Atlantic salmon present in the trial site.
The beavers are set to be contained within a specific area, which will be able to sustain them for the next five years. Locals hope they will prove to be a big tourist attraction and bring more money to the area.
The beavers were hunted to extinction in the 16th century, mostly for their fur, as mens' top hats were made from beaver pelt and they were very popular.