The culling of wild beavers in Scotland is to continue unabated — despite Scottish Government body NatureScot being found to be issuing licenses unlawfully by a judicial review. 

It has emerged that there is to be no pause or halt in the practice of shooting beavers deemed to be damaging agricultural land for farmers who have already been licensed to do so. 

Charity TreesforLife had sought a judicial review of the practice of culling, and were partially successful when one of their complaints was upheld.

The court ruled NatureScot must set out openly and fully the reasons why it believes any future licence to kill beavers should be granted, and that a failure to do so in the past was unlawful.

However, this is not enough to halt the culling of beaver under the current system and NatureScot has said that it will continue. 

The Herald:

Beavers on the Tay

READ MORE: Treesforlife wins court battle over NatureScot culling policy

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government agency said: "In light of this part of the ruling, we will amend existing licenses when needed, to show that culling is a necessary last resort, due to issues such as agricultural damage.

"The court decision does not affect the legality of any acts carried out under current species control licence for beaver."

Beavers have become naturalised on the River Tay since escaping or being freed from private collections sometime in the 1990s. 

Hundreds of the animals are thought to be living free in the area - with Perth being identified as the first city in the UK to have a population of 'urban' beavers earlier this year.

READ MORE: Scottish beavers given new home in Cornwall

But there are concerns the dam-building creatures damage agricultural land, bringing them into conflict with farmers. 

The Scottish government designated the aquatic mammals a protected species from 1 May 2019, but records show more than 200 have been culled since then. 

As well as culling the animals, NatureScot has sponsored a programme of trapping and relocation, with some beavers being transported to Knappdale, where a scientific study of the species re-introduction is underway.