Trapping beavers using PerdixPro remote monitoring system
Beavers are becoming increasingly more widespread in England, Scotland and Wales after an absence of 300 to 400 years.
In January 2023, Beaver Trust released a family of beavers into Loch Lomond national nature reserve as part of a joint project with RSPB Scotland.
The Eurasian beaver is a large, semi-aquatic, herbivorous rodent which is native to Britain. It is found in freshwater environments such as rivers, streams, lochs and lakes, and lives in family groups typically of two to five animals which will contain a mated pair and any offspring from that year and the year before.
The species was hunted to extinction in Britain roughly 400 years ago for their fur, meat and scent glands but, since the 1920s, more than 28 European countries have worked to reintroduce beavers due to their unparalleled ability to engineer wetlands. They have since been reintroduced to Britain and the population is now estimated to be greater than 2,000 animals.
Beavers are known as a keystone species as the wetlands they create have been scientifically proven to create habitat which innumerable species of plants, fungi, fish, invertebrates, amphibians and mammals use for food, shelter and reproduction. Their activities have also been shown to help reduce flooding, increase water retention during drought, improve water quality, and even potentially to limit the spread of wildfire, but their engineering can conflict with human infrastructure and farming systems.
An aerial view of a complex wetland system created by a beaver family in Perthshire, Scotland.
In areas of Scotland where their activities are causing conflict, Beaver Trust (under the licence and direction of NatureScot) works with land owners and managers to trap beavers and translocate them to permitted areas where their engineering can bring real environmental benefits.
Dr Roisin Campbell-Palmer setting a Bavarian Beaver Trap in Scotland to capture a beaver from a conflict site.
Trapping sites can be remote and difficult to access. To help in the Trust’s mission, efficient, effective and humane equipment is a must. Many of the Beaver Trust’s live-catch traps are fitted with a PerdixPro Trap Tag. These tags are linked to the PerdixPro Trap Monitoring System which is designed to help with monitoring, management and record keeping. The tag can be easily added to traps and then linked to geo-referenced sites via the PerdixPro app, making the system versatile for operators. When a trap’s closure is triggered, it sends an alert via the trap tool to the operators so that they can prioritise the traps that have caught a beaver.
A PerdixPro Trapping Tool being secured to a Bavarian beaver trap.
A PerdixPro trap tag combined with a PerdixPro 4G camera – as Beaver Trust is now adopting – enables the trap to be ‘watched’ remotely for activity to give total peace of mind when it comes to animal welfare and best practice trapping standards.
Dr Robert Needham setting up a PerdixPro 4G camera.
As a wildlife ecologist himself, Dr Dave Butler of PERDIX understands the need for equipment to be beyond reproach when it comes to animal welfare. Dr Roisin Campbell-Palmer of Beaver Trust and her team hold great store in their confidence in PERDIX equipment. She says: “We are continually in direct contact with Dave. To make the system fit our situation, Dave has been able to tweak the software as needed tailoring it specifically for our needs.”
Watching a beaver enter a beaver trap using the PerdixPro app.
As beavers expand into new areas, and Beaver Trust covers new sites, Roisin says that they are looking at increasing their inventory of PerdixPro equipment and using and trialling other equipment supplied by Perdix Wildlife Supplies, in particular Python cable locks and PerdixPro GPS trackers for cameras and other field equipment security.
A set Bavarian beaver trap with a PerdixPro Trapping tool and a PerdixPro 4G camera set up on and around it.
With internationally-recognised beaver experts employed, Beaver Trust is the go-to organisation when it comes to beaver monitoring and management. The organisation is being called on to conduct unique beaver projects within Britain, such as health screening of the wild population in the Avon catchment in Wiltshire and Somerset, as well as internationally. Being able to recommend reliable equipment is a vital part of that package.
It is precisely this sort of interactive, personal and functional relationship – with wildlife ecologists working in the field who meet hurdles that need timely and effective solutions – in which PERDIX takes pride.