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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 06-03-2006, 11:41 PM
Police Wildlife Crime Officer
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Blanefield, Scotland
Posts: 46
European Beaver

Right folks, thought Iíd start my first thread with a bit of a sore subject up here in Scotland. Canít see any pervious threads in the history, so forgive me if Iím covering old ground.

Iíve just met up with a friend of mine who was heavily involved in the initial work in relation to the re-introduction of the European beaver in Argyllshire. This project was many years in the planning and at a several million pounds, quite heavy on the tax payers pocket. The whole project was temporally put on hold last year, even though there was strong arguments for and against the re-introduction. My argument is that personally I believe it to be a waste of time any precious money. As an old romantic, It would be fantastic to have species that have previously wiped out by man re-introduced, but should we not protect the rare species we already have and put money and recourses into that?
The public only see a small amount of the actual wildlife crime that goes on in the UK. Iím unfortunate enough to be extremely busy trying to catch the perpetrators, and Iím only just scratching the surface. One example of this is on one of my gaming estates alone, six pairs of hen harriers mysteriously disappeared last year, and that doesnít include several buzzards that have turned up poisoned on this same estate. I have five further estates in my area with similar problems, which is a lot for one cop.
We now have a chap up north who wishes to re-introduce the European wolf. This would entail putting an extremely large fence over a vast area to keep them in. So that would upset walkers and climbers such as myself, and it would only take one escapee and something or someone killed, and off we go again blasting them.
Some species have been re-introduced successfully such as the white tailed sea eagle, which is doing reasonably well. Unfortunately (tongue in cheek) some of my fellow WCOís and I have to go work up on the Isle of Mull every year for a few weeks to help protect these birds eggs from egg thieves, over zealous photographers ( see nest photos thread), and also some of these birds are still poisoned or shot once they reach the main land. The operation is time intensive and quite expensive to run.

My friend and I have already drunk over half a bottle of Glengoyne, and thereís another one waiting, so no doubt the arguments will continue long into the night resulting in us both probably passing out
.
So lets have your opinions on re-introduction of species for and against and see who winís the argument. Thereís a bottle resting on it!!!!

Phil
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 07-03-2006, 12:22 PM
Jonny's Avatar
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Location: Cornwall..
Posts: 1,490
Re: European Beaver

Hi Phil, hows your head today ? I can't understand how millions can be spent on the reintroduction of beavers. Why can't they just plonk a few in a suitable river (if there is one over here) and see how they get on, why spend millions ?
I have mixed feelings about reintroducing species back here as we are such a crowded nation, if it were sparrows for instance.....No problem, but wolves.......No way. That person you speak of must have a good liability cover. As for beavers.......There dams may upset some people and they will need a good supply of trees, but otherwise no probs. I am not sure about the eagle owl, would love to see one in the wild though. And the sea eagles I have actually seen on Mull and I think the west coast of scotland is a good place for them, I wish them well, though could someone take those silly great tags off them...................Jon
Ps......Would you recommend glengoyne, I have not had that one B4
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 07-03-2006, 05:10 PM
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Posts: 137
Re: European Beaver

Phil, you say that we should spend more money on protecting our existing rarities, rather than fork out on re-introducing the beaver. I think you would find it quite astonishing how much is spent on recreating wetlands across the country, in an effort to increase habitat for our rare riparian and still water species. Introducing beavers would do a lot of this work for us, producing valuable wet woodlands with little human management.

I sincerely doubt that the cost for the re-introduciton debate in Scotland has amounted to millions, but I would be suprised if it was less than £50,000 ish.

I think a lot of the members of this forum fully support other re-introductions across the UK, particularly of red kites.

I also think think the guy trying to re-introduce wolves is on to a really good thing - over grazing of deer is causing huge environmental problems of habitat degredation in woodlands and uplands across the UK mainly because of a lack of top predators in our current ecology. Lynx, wolves, eagle owls, I support them all. My only objection to his plan is the whole fence thing - I know he needs to keep them in so that he can be the sole benificiary of the tourism that will be generated by the project, but I think this shows he has missed the conservation point and is creating little more than a large zoo.
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Old 07-03-2006, 07:32 PM
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Re: European Beaver

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jo Pedder
Phil, you say that we should spend more money on protecting our existing rarities, rather than fork out on re-introducing the beaver. I think you would find it quite astonishing how much is spent on recreating wetlands across the country, in an effort to increase habitat for our rare riparian and still water species. Introducing beavers would do a lot of this work for us, producing valuable wet woodlands with little human management.

I sincerely doubt that the cost for the re-introduciton debate in Scotland has amounted to millions, but I would be suprised if it was less than £50,000 ish.

I think a lot of the members of this forum fully support other re-introductions across the UK, particularly of red kites.

I also think think the guy trying to re-introduce wolves is on to a really good thing - over grazing of deer is causing huge environmental problems of habitat degredation in woodlands and uplands across the UK mainly because of a lack of top predators in our current ecology. Lynx, wolves, eagle owls, I support them all. My only objection to his plan is the whole fence thing - I know he needs to keep them in so that he can be the sole benificiary of the tourism that will be generated by the project, but I think this shows he has missed the conservation point and is creating little more than a large zoo.
Jo, let me get this right. You would support the reintroduction of predators such as wolfs and you would not like them fenced in.
If so, let me ask you where would we be able to take the kids and dog out into the country side without the fear of being eaten. Would you want farmers to put up wolf proof fences to keep them out?????????
Have you been drinking Phils wiskey
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 07-03-2006, 08:21 PM
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Posts: 185
Re: European Beaver

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonny
where would we be able to take the kids and dog out into the country side without the fear of being eaten.
Been reading fairy stories, have we?

Many more people get killed by farmstock than by wolves in Europe.

Authenticated cases of people killed by wolves in Europe are incredibly rare.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 07-03-2006, 08:34 PM
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Location: N.E. Lincolnshire
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Re: European Beaver

In order to reintroduce wolves large areas would have to be set aside for them. In an average hunt wolves typically cover over 25 miles in a night. I can only see it becoming practical if the reintroduction took place on offshore islands - and large uninhabitated ones at that. The proposed scheme at Aladale entails fencing off aprox 50,000 acres, and how this would affect current wildlife in the area has yet to be discussed. In order for the scheme to work it would have to be very profitable. Hence I also feel that unless it is run extremely well, it would just become another Longleat type enterprise.

The problem with any reintroduction programs is that we tend to pick and choose the species to suit our own needs and practicalities, without thinking about the environmental biodiversity as a whole, so end up with a fragmented perception of what wilderness is or should be.

In order for any of these schemes to work the first major obstical is the recreation of the habitats first, then the current wildlife will take care of itself. Only then should we think about the 'missing' species.

But perhaps the biggest obstical is the reintroduction of our own relationships with all the creatures that we have so much incommon with.

Alan
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Old 07-03-2006, 08:37 PM
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Re: European Beaver

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveA
Been reading fairy stories, have we?

Many more people get killed by farmstock than by wolves in Europe.

Authenticated cases of people killed by wolves in Europe are incredibly rare.
May be rare in europe, but with all the space for wolves out there, I am not surprised, they are shy creatures. But in this country they would be fighting for space and not being fenced in, there would be trouble. That is what the fairy godmother told me anyway and who am I to argue................Jon
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 07-03-2006, 11:16 PM
Police Wildlife Crime Officer
 
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Location: Blanefield, Scotland
Posts: 46
Re: European Beaver

John.
Yes got a sore head, but more importantly Glengoyne is excellent, the distillery is five minuets up the road from me so get a wee discount for being local.
I agree with what you said regarding the tags on the sea eagles. As you are no doubt aware the scientist type folks and RSPB insist on this tagging system to monitor movements of individual birds. Unfortunately they are going to be used for some time yet.

Jo
The cost of the beaver project was quoted as being 3 million. These are figures in the press and have not been challenged by the executiveor my friend who was involved in the project. I can see your point regarding the creation of natural habitat by the beavers, but they will also impact on local tree populations. Some members of the salmon fishing fraternity think the natural pools would be great for young salmon, others state that they will prevent salmons from free running the rivers.

Red kites and other species are doing well, Iím lucky to see them most days and I do agree with these species being re-introduced as they donít conflict with any of mans activities, kites being carrion eaters rather then hunters such as the hen harrier, but this still does not prevent them from being regularly poisoned. The same will no doubt happed to the eagle owl as it continues to expand and the jury is still out on whether they are native to the UK or not. ( I feel another thread starting)

The wolfís re-introduction sounds great but it will never happed without the fence and its associated problems. As you stated we have already done the damage by taking out the top predators and due to the lack of space there will be no chance of them living their own wee lives eating red deer without coming into conflict with man.

Alan is spot on in the fact we have to recreate the correct habitat first before the species, which is often over looked.

The government these days seem to go for non-conflict species such as the great bustard. Canít see these birds up setting the tweedies for eating their grouse.

Phil
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 08-03-2006, 03:15 PM
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Re: European Beaver

in east grinsted we have already reestablished the beaver and this was by accident as 2 escaped from beaver farm one lived and died on hedgecourtand the other migrated out towards tunbridge wells and took up residence on a carp lake . the damage to trees was fairly extensive but not particulary devastating. i can quite coexist with this type of reintroduction and things like red kites and eagles if they can fit in are welcome . wolves and bears are a little too extream for interaction into todays society . we should preseve them in areas where they naturaly live and not try to force them back into a rural society that cannot cope with or change to accept that introduction .
i am agreat fan of every kind of wild life but sometimes we just cannot turn back the clock (sadly)
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Old 01-08-2007, 09:56 AM
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Re: European Beaver

A further update on the possible reintroduction of the beaver to Scotland from the wildlife trusts site.

Press News

It will be interesting to see what the outcome is and how that affects other planned releases through out the UK. I understand that one of the beavers that was released in a Gloucestershire controlled habitat escaped last year and was spotted in Oxfordshire towards the end of last years summer. I haven't heard any news on it since, it would be interesting to know what happened to it.


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