Sunday, 9 May 2010

Beavers at Aberfeldy

The River Tay at Aberfeldy or, rather, a little downstream of the town, but looking upstream.

Word had reached me that there were signs of beaver there and, indeed, that someone had set a trap to catch a beaver. Who could this person be, or which organisation?

It seems that Scottish Natural Heritage would like to see all the beavers in the catchment of the Tay removed (and destroyed I must suppose, or perhaps exported to wildlife parks elsewhere in the British Isles).

Why, you may ask, when their plan in 1998 was to return the Eurasian beaver to the Tay, should they do this? The answer seems to be that these Eurasian beavers are the wrong sort of beavers. SNH would have liked Scandinavian beavers to be restored to Scotland and do not approve of the return of beavers from Bavaria that turn out to be descended from Scandinavian, Russo/Polish and French beavers. Not for the them the wisdom of hybridity, but the clonal genotype of the Norwegian beavers. Not that I am against the Norwegian beaver, but it would seem sensible in the case of a restoration, where no original stock survives, to go for hybridity and the advantages that confers, rather than the riskier choice of going for a nearly clonal subspecies.

The difficulty of following museum zoologists' advice is that these folk are easier with the taxonomy of extinct species or dead animals than with the living members of live habitats and ecosystems.

If you scramble down the bank from the car park next to the Aberfeldy cemetery (and on the other side of the road from the Johnnie Walker distillery) this is what you will see.

And a bit more cut stump.

Somewhere along here

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