Beavers trapped in Scotland should not be “exiled” to England, the Greens have said.
The party said the Scottish Government’s nature agency is moving beavers to England despite opportunities to relocate them in Scotland.
NatureScot, which used to be known as Scottish Natural Heritage, said moving the animals can lessen the impact they have on certain areas.
The Scottish Greens said the agency is planning a “wholesale export” of 112 beavers but this figure has been disputed by NatureScot.
It comes after concern among the Scottish Beaver Forum advisory group about the number of beavers killed last year to prevent damage to agriculture.
Mark Ruskell MSP said: “While exile is better than execution, this bizarre situation is what happens when a Government wants to simultaneously protect and eradicate an animal from our country.
“The fact is there are farmers and nature reserves in Scotland who would welcome beaver populations.
“Instead we are exporting these creatures en masse.”
He added: “Beavers are native to Scotland, we should be translocating them across the country so we can build a healthy population here.
“Translocated beavers could bring eco-tourism to new areas of Scotland, while restoring the nature rich wetlands we need to protect against floods.
“Beavers are nature’s expert engineers, they are needed at home in Scotland and shouldn’t be shot or shipped to England.”
A spokeswoman for NatureScot said: “We continue to work with partners on a range of measures – including mitigation, trapping and translocation – to lessen the impact beavers are having and reduce the need for control measures.
“In 2019, 19 beavers were trapped and translocated to Knapdale and England.
“This year, in response to concerns expressed by some members of the Scottish Beaver Forum and others regarding the level of lethal control of beavers in 2019, we are putting even greater effort into trapping animals for translocation and moving them to conservation projects in England.”
She added: “The quoted figure of 112 is incorrect.
“Since trapping started in August a total of 15 beavers have been successfully trapped and translocated.”
The spokeswoman said the organisation will “carefully” consider any projects to relocate the beavers in Scotland.
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