SCOTTISH beavers in Scotland are establishing a strong presence in Perth, according to researchers conducting the most comprehensive ever survey of the animal in Scotland.
The NatureScot survey, being conducted by Exeter University, will gather detailed, up-to-date information on the location and number of active beaver territories.
The survey will also assess the health and spread of the overall population, after beavers became extinct several hundred years ago.
Already, plenty of evidence has been found of beaver activity on the River Tay, including right in the centre of the City of Perth.
While there has been a beaver territory on the Tay at Perth since at least 2017, the surveyors found even more evidence this year.
In particular, they identified a number of fresh field signs on Moncreiffe Island in the River Tay.
Along the river at the North Inch, there are also obvious signs of beaver presence, highlighting their amazing ability to gnaw and fell some sizeable riverside trees.
Perth is the first city in UK to have resident urban beavers.
In spite of the cold and snowy conditions, surveyors have completed over 100 field survey days so far with thousands of confirmed field signs left by beavers.
Denise Reed, NatureScot’s Tayside & Grampian Area Manager, said: “The City of Perth already has an abundance of wildlife on its doorstep and we’re excited to hear about the beavers in Perth.
“It can lay claim to being the first city in the UK to have its own resident beaver families.
Professor Richard Brazier, project lead from the University of Exeter said: “The survey work is important because it enables us to understand, with an objective approach, how beaver territories have changed.”
It also helped understand where beaver are living and, he added, “what impacts, both positive and negative, beavers are having on our ecosystems”.
Comparing the new results with the previous survey three years ago enables those involved to “learn lessons and improve our approaches to beaver management in the future,” said Prof Brazier.
This is the first survey conducted since beavers gained protected status as European Protected Species in Scotland on 1 May 2019.
The public can contribute to this survey by reporting sightings of beavers and their field signs using the Mammal Society’s Mammal Mapper app, available for both iPhone and Android, or online.