A Moray rewilding charity is preparing to challenge the Scottish Government over its beaver culling policy.
Legal proceedings will take place at the Scottish Court of Session in Edinburgh tomorrow and Thursday amid claims the law is being broken when it comes to protecting beavers.
Levelling the accusations at the government’s NatureScot, members of Trees for Life have criticised the killing of wild beavers for control purposes.
In 2019, almost 90 of the reintroduced mammals were culled which is equivalent to a fifth of the overall population – despite being a protected species.
Ruling in charity’s favour would ‘transform’ fortunes of beavers
Wanting the culling of beavers to be a last resort, the charity has suggested relocating animals to areas where they can help boost bio-diversity, rather than issuing licenses for them to hunted down when they damage local farming interests.
Steve Micklewright, chief executive at the charity said: “A ruling in our favour could transform the fortunes of Scotland’s wild beavers.
“But whatever the legal outcome, this case is spotlighting glaring inconsistencies in the government’s approach to protecting this still-fragile native species – and why a more nature-friendly, climate-friendly and farmer-friendly approach is needed.”
Trees for Life has located 247,100 acres of suitable land for the beavers to be relocated to, but have so far been rejected by the government.
Court action funded by Crowdfunder – and presenter Chris Packham
The charity believes any changes to the management of beavers must be practical and effective in protecting farmers’ interests.
The court action has been backed by a Crowdfunder, which secured £60,000 towards the legal costs of the judicial reveal.
Presenter Chris Packham’s group Wild Justice also donated £5,000.
Lawyer Adam Eagle, chief executive officer for legal specialist rewilding charity, The Lifescape Project, which is spearheading the litigation with Trees for Life, said: “We’ve studied hundreds of pages of material obtained from NatureScot through Freedom of Information requests, and we’ve compiled strong arguments that current beaver licensing practices breach the Scottish Habitats Regulations on several fronts.”
The Scottish Government has been approached for comment.