Scots conservationist discovers former death row beaver is pregnant

A SCOTS conservationist has been left delighted after discovering a death row beaver he reintroduced on his land is pregnant.

Tom Bowser had been looking for signs that the Eurasian beaver at Argaty Red Kites centre in Doune, Perthshire, was expecting.

On Saturday, footage from wildlife cameras near a burn confirmed the news after spotting the animal with a protruding bump and swollen teats.

Tom, 38, said he believes this is a clear sign that the animals are adapting to their new environment.

The family of beavers, including a male and three kits, were moved to the private site from Tayside after causing problems for farmers and facing being culled.

And now, at their new location, the once-threatened animals appear to be thriving.

Video shows the colony of beavers emerging from the water to eat carrots and turnips at the weekend – with the pregnant mother alongside.

Her protruding stomach and swollen teats are clearly shown in the clip.

A smaller kit emerges out of the water and follows its parents for food.

Speaking today, Tom said: “We are absolutely delighted.

“Pregnancy is one of the big signs that the beavers are adapting to their new environment.

“It is really thrilling.

“The first sign we had of the pregnancy was the day the video was posted.

“We had been looking for signs like enlarged teats.

“Now we have that, we are expecting her to pop anytime now.

“I think we can expect to see the kits emerge around early July.

“They are basically wild animals now, we let them get on with it.

“The only thing we do is give them a food top up.”

Argaty Red Kites posted about the exciting news on Facebook on Monday: “Big news, huge news in fact.

“For weeks we’ve been on beaver nipple watch, that got your attention, looking for engorged teats on Mama Beaver.

“Check her out.

“Baby beavers are on the way.”

Hundreds of animal lovers have liked the post and commented on the post.

Matt Thompson said: “Hooray for nips.

“Exciting news, love these updates.”

A wildlife camera near a burn confirmed to Tom that the beaver was indeed pregnant. (C) Tom Bowser

Jackie Green said: “What excellent, exciting news, well done everybody who helped these lovely creatures.”

Robert Allen said: “How bloody brilliant is that.

“Considering these guys were so close to being shot, well done.”

Katrina Caldwell said: “Big grin here, lovely news.

“Hope all goes well for them.”

Beavers were hunted to extinction in Scotland 500 years ago but in 2006 a mysterious group of the animals was discovered in Tayside.

Genetic tests showed the escaped animals were from Germany and most likely Bavaria.

A report from Scottish Natural Heritage said the rogue beavers had been found to be “well adapted to living in Scotland”.

They are one of the largest species of rodent, and can weigh up to 30kg (66lbs).

In 2009 the Scottish Government authorised the release of beavers from Norway in Argyll’s Knapdale Forest.

In 2012 the Scottish Government decided to allow the Tayside beavers to stay while they carried out an official reintroduction programme 100 miles away in Knapdale, Argyll.

Beaver pregnancy lasts four months and they typically mate around February and give birth in June.

Litters are usually between three and four, although some mother beavers have given birth to as many as 13 at a time.