Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Scottish Wild Beaver Group logo and the campaign to Save the Free Beavers of the Tay

This the logo of the Scottish Wild Beaver Group. We set our group up last year and proceeded to become a SCIO: that is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Our Charity Number is SCO 42626.

Malcolm Appleby, the celebrated silversmith designed the logo and the graphics of the wording were decided for us by Niall Benvie, the well-known photographer and conservationist.

The design shows a beaver within a wetland world. The beaver has a somewhat embryonic look which hints at the early stage of the beaver's restoration to this country. I did mention to Malcolm that I was inspired by the idea of Courbet's paintings 'L'origine du monde' and his 'Source of the Loue'. I also found the play on the word 'beaver' irresistible.

Since posting this I have learned that primary school children are being shown this blog as a teaching aid and that Courbet's 'L'origine du monde' is unsuitable for them, so I have removed the photograph of that painting.

I first came across these paintings as illustrations in Simon Schama's 'Landscape and Memory' where he discusses anthropomorphism in landscape and Gustave Courbet's passion for it.

Searching, through Google, for origins of the word beaver as a euphemism for female genitalia, I wondered if the trappers and traders of North America ever had a sense of shame for what they were doing. Was it, even for the First Nation trappers, simply a mechanical transaction, or did they have regrets of the same kind as the walrus and the carpenter in Lewis Carroll's poem of that name? Was the beaver's name, whose shameful exploitation triggered feelings of guilt, transferred to that other source of shame and power in the Judaeo-Christian mind the vulva?

To turn to other things:

The soft toys are getting radical!

Some weeks ago it was put out that Stewart Stevenson, the Minister for the Environment and Climate Change was about to pronounce on the fate of the Free Beavers of the Tay. Nothing has happened, but those who attended the recent meeting of the National Species Reintroduction Forum were told to expect an announcement in a fortnight or so. A week has passed, so the announcement should be imminent. It would be good if as many people as possible sent emails to

Jean-Pierre Choisy told me of the 'Printemps des Castors'. This is a pan-European project to educate people to the importance of the beaver to the ecological health of waterways and wetlands throughout Europe. Here is the link:

No comments:

Post a Comment