Baby beavers born in the UK for the first time in centuries
The first baby beavers to be born in the wild for about 400 years have been spotted in Scotland, it was announced today (August 13).
Last May the trial reintroduction of beavers began with the babies, known as kits, thought to have been born about eight weeks ago.
About the size of a large guinea pig, beaver kits weigh about one pound at birth and are born with a full coat of fur, their eyes open and the ability to swim.
Older kits within the family may help care for and defend the younger ones but when they reach about two years old, they will leave the group in search of their own territory.
The Scottish Beaver Trial, which reintroduced the animals, aims to provide information which could determine whether or not beavers are reintroduced into the wild across Scotland.
The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland's Beaver field officer, Christian Robstad, said: "Seeing the Trial's newborn beaver kits was really amazing - this is a huge achievement for the project and for conservation in the UK.
"It's often difficult to tell if wild beavers are pregnant especially as they are elusive and largely nocturnal animals, but with our adult female beavers at two sites known to be in peak condition, there was a real possibility that kits could follow.
"Increasingly in the last few weeks, staff and volunteers have seen more evidence that there were young around and tracking activities were stepped up.
"After weeks of patient observation, we were finally rewarded with not just one kit being spotted but a second kit from a different family group as well.
"The first emerged as part of a 'family outing' with its parents and older sister close by to offer additional protection.
"It kept close to the edge of the loch and called out to its family for reassurance while it began to learn to forage for food."