'The Scotsman' of 6th August 2010 published an article based, it seemed, on the report of a photographer, Keith Ringland, whose night photo of a beaver accompanied the article. According to Ringland there may be about one hundred beavers in the Tay catchment and they range as far as Forfar in the East and Strathearn in the West.
The article is to be found at http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/beavers/Gonna-gnaw-dae-that-.6460769.jp, complete with some absurd remarks that purport to come from a representative of Scottish Natural Heritage.
According to SNH's spokesman "There is an animal welfare issue because they are sociable animals but their welfare is not being monitored." Of course this is very sad, but it is one of the facts of nature that the young adults of many species, including the beaver, must disperse from the parents' territory and find territory for themselves, and a mate. While on this search there may well be a period of solitude.
On the basis of their solicitude for the beaver, I wonder why SNH is not monitoring the welfare of the young adults of other species: what about young roe deer as they travel through our hostile landscape, or young water voles as they make their way in the world?
Here are a couple of photographs, taken by Alan Ross.