Three families of 11 animals were transported from Norway and released in Argyll, Scotland, on Friday as part of a controversial reintroduction program.
Some conservationists are worried their dams might affect native fish in Scotland, where the angling industry generates about $180 million Cdn in annual revenue. The concern is that the dams will alter fish habitat and block access to spawning grounds.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland were given the go-ahead for the controversial trial reintroduction about a year ago.
According to the Daily Mail, the last recorded sighting of beavers living in the wilds of Britain was in 1526.
They were hunted to extinction for their pelts and for the secretions from their glands that Europeans believed helped cure headaches, fevers and hysteria.
Project manager Simon Jones told the BBC the release "went extremely well.
"They were placed into purpose-built artificial lodges at carefully selected points around the trial site.They will now gradually gnaw their way out of the lodge at a pace that is comfortable for them before exploring their new surroundings," he said.
The beavers will be closely monitored for their impact on the ecosystem, said Jones.
"This will help the Scottish government in making any final decisions on the future of beavers in Knapdale Forest or elsewhere in Scotland," he told the news service.
Roseanna Cunningham, Scotland's environment minister, paid a visit to the release site on Friday morning, calling the project "a historic day for conservation."
source of news article:http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2009/05/29/beavers-scotland-reintroduce.html
source of image:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/3491699/Beavers-for-re-introduction-project-arrive-in-Scotland.html
According to the website: http://www.scotsbeavers.org/, "Beavers were hunted to extinction in Scotland and throughout many parts of Europe, because they were so valuable! Their soft, thick and waterproof fur was highly prized and very fashionable and the fur industry spawned by the beaver was huge.
It is thought that the development of Inverness in the Middle Ages was attributable to its status as a transport and market centre for beaver pelts, whilst much of the exploration of North America was achieved by fur trappers, many of them Scotsmen, from the Hudson Bay Company, scouring the continent for beavers. Beavers were also highly sought after for a secretion called castoreum which was produced in a gland below the tail. This substance was valued for its alleged medicinal properties and more recent analysis of castoreum revealed that it contains salicylic acid, which is derived from the beaver's diet of willow bark. Salicylic acid is an active ingredient of aspirin.
In some areas, beaver meat was an important part of the diet and Roman Catholics were permitted to eat meat from the beaver's tail and paws as a substitute for fish on a Friday. All these pressures led to the beaver's demise in Britain around the sixteenth century. They were not exterminated because they were a pest or were dangerous!"