Male beaver leaving crate at RSPB Insh Marshes © Beaver Trust

Beavers released at RSPB Scotland Insh Marshes nature reserve

A pair of Eurasian beavers and one dependant are settling into their new home after arriving at RSPB Scotland Insh Marshes nature reserve in the Cairngorms National Park on Monday 4 March.

The beavers have been released at the nature reserve, the latest of the planned releases in the Cairngorms National Park, as part of a coordinated effort to reestablish the species in the Cairngorms.

The releases were overseen by translocation experts from Beaver Trust, working in partnership with the Park Authority, landowners RSPB Scotland and Five Sisters Zoo. This follows the Park Authority being granted a licence from NatureScot in late 2023 to bring beavers back to the National Park.

Grant Moir, CEO of the Cairngorms National Park Authority, commented: “We’re very pleased to see beavers being released at more locations in the National Park and that everything is going according to plan. The beavers that have been released so far are settling in well to their new surroundings and anyone who has visited RSPB Scotland Insh Marshes nature reserve will know how ideally suited this location is to the species.

“Over the coming weeks and months, our dedicated Beaver Officer and ranger service will be working with landowners to keep a close eye on the beavers and their wider habitat. This includes monitoring of water levels, use of camera traps to directly monitor beavers and mapping field signs of beaver activity.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to again thank everyone who has been involved, particularly the Cairngorms Beaver Group and neighbouring land managers. We recognise that beavers will bring change to the landscapes of the National Park and will continue to work closely with our partners and local stakeholders to maximise benefits and minimise negative impacts.”

Dr Roisin Campbell-Palmer, Head of Restoration at Beaver Trust, said: “It’s incredibly fulfilling to release these animals into the internationally important wetland that is RSPB Scotland Insh Marshes nature reserve today. We expect them to thrive here with the amount of suitable habitat, and we can’t wait to see how their engineering changes and shapes the reserve, and the impact that will have on the many rare and protected species found at Insh. This is another big step towards reestablishing a wild population here in the Spey catchment and expanding Scotland’s beaver population into appropriate areas in line with the National Beaver Strategy

Karen Birkby, RSPB Scotland’s Site Manager for Insh Marshes, said: “We are delighted to have been able to support the efforts to return beavers to the Cairngorms National Park by being one of the first release sites. Seeing beavers return is a major moment for the nature reserve and will help us achieve the long-term vision of restoring the river Spey and floodplain for nature and people.
We’re really grateful for the input from our neighbours and for funding from the Endangered Seascapes and Landscapes Programme through Cairngorms Connect to help support our involvement. While it’s unlikely we’ll see much of the beavers apart from on the remote monitoring cameras, we are looking forward to seeing the benefits they bring to other wildlife and the wetland
habitats in the future.”

Chris Donald, NatureScot’s Head of Operations for Central Highland, said: “RSPB Scotland Insh Marshes nature reserve, with its vast expanse of pools, marshland and woodland, has long been identified as one of – if not the – most suitable locations for beavers, along with other parts of the upper Spey catchment. We’re delighted to see beavers take their place on the reserve adding to the rich tapestry of species and habitats for which the reserve is already recognised to be of international importance.

“Bringing beavers back to the Cairngorms National Park will bring significant benefits and opportunities for nature and people, and we’ll continue to work with the Park Authority and local interests to maximise these benefits while addressing any potential issues that might arise as the beavers settle into their new homes.”

Gary Curran, Head Carnivore Keeper at Five Sisters Zoo, said: “We are all delighted to see another successful beaver release and are proud to have played a role in this project. We will await an update on how the animals are settling in and hope to hear what positive impacts they have on the reserve.”

For more information on the Bringing Beavers Back to the Cairngorms project, please visit the Cairngorms National Park website.
To learn more about the licencing process, please go to the NatureScot website.

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