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Beavers will devastate Scottish woodland

Beaver damage to trees in Argentina 2016.
Beaver damage to trees in Argentina 2016.

Sir, – After reading the article (November 29) on the further expansion of the beaver population in Scotland, I would like to bring to the public’s attention the pitfalls of such an enterprise.

I am recently returned from a holiday to Argentina and one of our destinations was Tierra del Fuego.

In 1946, 25 pairs of beavers were introduced with a view to starting a fur trade.

Now today, there is in the region of 400,000 animals. This was a figure given to me by our guide and may not be precise, however, there is no doubt that the beaver population has grown to such an extent that tracts of forest have been decimated and are now considered an ecological disaster.

There, as in Scotland, beavers have no natural predators.

My photograph, above, will help illustrate the extent of the devastation.

To put it bluntly, the trees could not regenerate at a sustainable rate to support the growing population which meant that the beavers have had to expand their feeding area and, in doing so, have created vast swathes of dead trees.

In Angus and Perthshire you can find evidence of beaver damage on most rivers and lochs and if their population is allowed to grow, it will only be a matter of time before we face a similar situation to that in Tierra del Fuego on our doorstep.

I disagree with the Scottish Government’s decision to provide the present population with protection, but laws are to be followed.

Therefore, I suggest stringent control measures are put in place to limit the population to its present level and stop any further expansion.

Richard AZ Malkowski.
Charleston Village.
by Glamis.


Stick to urban matters, Jim

Sir, – The triumphal article by Jim Crumley on the legalisation of wild beavers has shown him up for what he is.

The recently-formed Scottish Wild Beaver Group has been set up mainly to spread the irresponsibility of setting free beavers contained in private collections.

In some cases, it is thought these beavers have been driven to various areas and released furtively.

He summarises his article by saying that the beavers will have to be given time.

The only time given should be given to the perpetrators of this great escape for contravening wildlife laws.

I have nothing against Jim Crumley’s writing. He wrote a very informative and amusing article a couple of weeks ago on the parliamo Dundee theme. He should stick with plaities and cundies and leave rural matters to lifelong countrymen and women.

Jim Brown.
12 Dunarn Street,


Beavers are thin edge of wedge

Sir, – In reply to Jim Crumley’s latest column about beavers, a Polish friend tells me that in Poland, beavers are restricted to established nature reserves and not tolerated beyond.

Jim describes the eco-system of beavers, mentioning their happy life on river banks, creating wetland from dams.

He skips the point about gnawing round the base of beautiful trees to kill and fell for the making of those same dams.

What about the eco-systems for rabbits, hares, stoats, foxes, people, cattle, pigs, sheep and fish?

I seem to recall serious flooding in Alyth recently causing much distress to our human species.

Evidence of beaver activity was reported.

There is talk of reintroducing lynx, wolves and bears. I fear for my poor country. What price wild camping, or just walking my wee dog along some country path, if the above were to happen?

AT Geddie.
68 Carleton Avenue,


NHS losing talented staff

Sir, – I was very interested to read your front page article reporting that the number of unfilled nursing and midwifery posts has rocketed 200% in Tayside and Fife (November 28).

May I suggest that the issue is not necessarily just about one of staff recruitment, but just as importantly, one of staff retention. Perhaps a Freedom of Information request to NHS Tayside would reveal how many staff are leaving the service almost the minute they can access their pension and what is the strategy for succession planning with so many staff leaving early.

Dedicated health professionals are leaving their careers behind, well in advance of when they would have normally expected to retire, due to the pressures of working within its inept management structure.

Could I also respectfully suggest that it might be beneficial for NHS Tayside chairman Professor John Connell, chief executive Lesley McLay and Health Secretary Shona Robison to attend one of NHS Tayside’s preparation for retirement courses, of which there are many and attended by many.

They might be a bit more enlightened as to why recruitment into NHS Tayside is so difficult and why we are losing so many talented and dedicated professionals.

Craig McGeoghie.
10 Newhall Gardens,


Embarrassing deference

Sir, – We are all perfectly aware your columnist Jenny Hjul feels London is more capable of running Scotland than the Scots themselves.

However, who knew she was so willing to have almost anyone have a say in how Scotland is governed, at the expense of Holyrood actually deciding these matters?

In her column (November 30) Ms Hjul cited Spain, Norway, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy all ignoring Scotland’s diplomatic efforts and well pleased with that she seemed too.

I am surprised she manages to get out of bed of a morning with that bad back from genuflecting to anyone wishing to tell the Scots what to do.

She takes tugging the forelock to a whole new level.

Sadly, Ms Hjul is that particular type of unionist who will side with anyone as long as it keeps Scotland in its proper place.

How ironic she displayed this visceral hatred for our Scottish Government (again) on St Andrews Day.

Henry Malcolm.
331 Clepington Road,


SNP put police in VAT peril

Sir, – Councillor Kevin Cordell (November 30) is on shaky ground in his criticism of the VAT position affecting Police Scotland.

In 2012, before Police Scotland was established, the Scottish Government was warned that by abolishing local police forces and creating a national force, it would take police services out of the scope of VAT refunds, but the Scottish Government pressed on regardless.

The abolition of local police forces has not only caused the VAT issue but has also resulted in a loss of local accountability and the current threat of closure to 57 local police stations.

Cllr Fraser Macpherson.
Liberal Democrat,
Dundee City Council.