87 Beavers: In Memoriam

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Public outpouring of love and grief in art and poetry for beavers shot under licence in Tayside.

87 Beavers: In Memoriam – Art Action Auction
87 Beavers: In Memoriam – 2021 Calendars on Sale
Real life exhibition at Bamff Old Garage with virtual launch 13 December 2020

Extinction Rebellion and Scottish Wild Beaver Group have combined to create a memorial to the 87 beavers that were shot under license in 2019 – over one fifth of the Scottish beaver population.  An art exhibition has been created to highlight the loss of these wonderful animals, agents of beneficial change, and still rare in this country. This wanton killing occurred at a time when the world is facing the consequences of devastating climate change and biodiversity loss. Just last week UN Secretary General António Guterres stated “The state of our planet is broken. Humanity is waging war against nature. This is suicidal”.

The reason for creating this memorial is to draw attention to the situation and to work to ensure that such excessive licensed killing of these legally protected animals can never happen again in Scotland.

Over a hundred professional and amateur artists, poets and children have produced a wonderful body of work accompanied by strongly worded messages expressing dismay at the situation. Images of all the art, texts and videos can be seen here (https://87beavers.org.uk/artwork/).

All the original pieces of art submitted are now up for auction here: (https://www.jumblebee.co.uk/auction/detail/auction_id/5056#none) and a selection of the submitted works have also been made into a beautiful calendar – on sale here: (https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Scottish-Wild-Beaver-Group-87-Beavers-in-Memoriam-Calendar-2021/143838128172).  All money raised will go to support the ongoing work of Scottish Wild Beaver Group in campaigning for a better future for Scotland’s beavers (https://www.scottishwildbeavers.org.uk/).

The whole body of original artwork submitted will also be put up temporarily for display over one weekend at Bamff Estate’s new studio gallery.

Because of Covid restrictions this exhibition will be filmed and photographed and launched online only at: https://bamff.land/87beavers

SWBGs vision of the future, which takes full account of the real conflict that can occur at times between beavers and farmers on low-lying agricultural land, is focused on three potential solutions: mitigating beaver impacts through fencing and flow devices; incentivising farmers to farm less intensively close to water courses and to allow natural river management; and in the case of conflicts that cannot be resolved, for the beavers to be trapped and relocated to other parts of Scotland where they will be welcomed and can benefit Nature and human communities.  

Currently the Scottish Government will not allow translocation to anywhere in Scotland outside Tayside and Knapdale.  The government have accredited over 200 individuals to shoot beavers in Tayside and have liberally issued killing licences to the farmers on ‘Prime Agricultural Land’, resulting in a shocking level of licensed killing.  While trapping and moving beavers to England is occurring in limited numbers and is preferable to shooting them, it is a travesty that these beavers cannot be moved to other parts of Scotland as well.

SWBG will continue to campaign for better beaver policy until killing beavers genuinely becomes an option of absolutely last resort, rather than the ‘go-to’ solution. With fewer than 500 beavers in Scotland, and no more than 1000 in the whole of the UK, thousands of acres of suitable habitat, and a high demand around the countryside for beavers and the ecosystem services and benefits they provide for free, this is not the time for lethal control.  Alternatives – ‘win-win’ solutions – exist, which can benefit people, Nature and the health of ecosystems, helping combat the twin Scottish crises of biodiversity loss and climate change.