Tayside and Central Scotland

First beaver spotted at a Perthshire loch in 400 years is given a DNA test

Image caption A wild beaver was spotted at the Loch of the Lowes last August and has been monitored ever since

The first wild beaver in more than 400 years has been trapped at a Perthshire nature reserve in order to perform health checks and a DNA test.

The wild beaver had been spotted at the Loch of the Lowes in August.

Staff have managed to catch the animal, which has been identified as a two to three year old male European Beaver.

The aquatic mammal was taken to Edinburgh Zoo for a proper health check and DNA testing, before being released back into the reserve.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT), along with the Tayside Beaver Study Group, has been monitoring the animal at the Loch of the Lowes since it was first spotted last summer.

Staff placed a humane trap, baited with carrots and apples, near the beaver's lodge.

Once caught, it was taken to the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) vet in Edinburgh, where the male beaver was given a full check for diseases and a sample of DNA taken.

Monitoring impact

The animal was re-released on the reserve later the same day, where staff said "he ambled happily down to the water's edge" and swam back to his lodge.

A spokesman at the reserve said: "We intend, of course, to continue monitoring the beaver at Loch of the Lowes and his behaviour, as well as any impact he has on the reserve's ecology.

"He is a charming animal who has provided us with some very funny moments on camera.

"So far there are no confirmed sightings of a second animal here, but it is possible that our male may attract a mate, we will be continuing to monitor him to follow the story."

Beavers became extinct in the UK towards the end of the 16th century.

The current wild beaver populations in Scotland either belong to the government-licensed Scottish Beaver Trial in Knapdale in Argyll, or are the descendants of escapees from private collections in Angus and Perthshire over the past decade.

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