A study to determine whether or not beavers should be reintroduced to the UK has proven highly effective, prompting a majority of Scottish residents polled to say they'd love to see the semi-aquatic rodents roaming the countryside again. "It is really positive to see majority support for the reintroduction of beavers to Scotland," said Simon Jones, project manager for the Scottish Beaver Trial, as reported by the BBC. "Feedback from several business owners in the Argyll area has also been positive and suggests the trial has boosted visitor numbers. ... We hope that any benefits will be lasting."
Beavers were eradicated from the UK centuries ago, and large constituencies in the forestry, fishing and farming industries hope the animals will stay away. The industries are petitioning environment minister Paul Wheelhouse, who will make the final decision on beaver reintroduction.
"I have to keep an open mind at this stage," Wheelhouse told the BBC. "But clearly, this is a species which was present in Scotland for many, many years before it was eradicated by man ... We have an important opportunity to evaluate what the impact would be of reintroducing a species that has had a history in this country."