Date lodged: 7 December 2017
To ask the Scottish Government what action it will take in the event of any future unlicensed releases of beavers into the wild.
Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 21 December 2017
I announced on 24 November 2016 that the Scottish Government was minded that the beaver populations in Knapdale in Argyll and in the Tay and Earn catchments could remain, and that their range can expand naturally. The Cabinet Secretary also stated that any further unauthorised releases or escapes of beavers would not be tolerated.
The precise response to any unauthorised release would be considered on a case-by-case basis, but it is expected that in most circumstances the Scottish Government would seek to remove the beavers in question.
Police Scotland would also be asked to investigate whether an offence had been committed under s14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act. The release of beavers into the wild without the necessary licence from Scottish Natural Heritage is an offence, punishable by up to 2 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.