Beaver tours are proving increasingly popular in Perthshire – with a small business having to hire new staff to meet demand.
Danièle Muir has been running Perthshire Wildlife for about nine years.
Beaver tours have been part of her business from the beginning, but they now make up 90% of what she and her team do.
Why are beavers proving so popular?
Danièle said the recent boost in popularity is down to the animal’s increasing profile.
“There has been more awareness through increased press coverage.
“With their reintroduction taking off, people know they can see them in their natural habitat.
“We’ve had to take on extra staff because the tours are so busy.”
She said visitors rarely leave disappointed after taking a tour.
“We’ve seen beavers in every trip so far this year.
“It’s doing a lot for the local economy. People who come here to see the beavers are also spending money at local restaurants and other businesses.
“It’s people coming from all over to see them.”
Danièle thinks this financial benefit is likely to improve even further with relocation of beavers within Scotland now the preferred choice of Scottish minsters, as opposed to the animals being killed or moved elsewhere in the UK.
She added: “I think there’s scope for other businesses like ours to pop-up elsewhere in Scotland as beaver numbers improve.
“To be honest, I don’t really understand how farmers and land owners can want them killed.
“And if they saw how much money visitors are spending, that would make the case as well.”
Danièle thinks one of the main reasons the Perthshire beaver tour is popular is that the animal is one of the biggest mammals that can be spotted easily in Scotland.
“There are deer of course, but other than that they are one of the biggest mammals we can see.
“It’s quite exciting to have large mammals like that back. Some people are not always aware just how big they are.
“They’re just like little bears.”
Beavers give nature ‘a helping hand’
The wildlife enthusiast used to work for Perth & Kinross Council before committing full-time to her business.
She said beavers are “wonderful” to see in their natural habitat.
“Beavers have so many positives.
“They are amazing for biodiversity through things such as cleaning water.
“They help encourage invertebrate life, which in turn helps a whole host of other species.
“If you want to give nature a helping hand, bring in beavers.”