In 2019 between May and December, 87 protected beavers on Tayside were killed under license by the Scottish Government: almost one-fifth of Scotland's beaver population, estimated at 450 animals.
Wise management, or senseless slaughter?
Beavers bring a range of benefits including flood control and their ability to create habitat for many other species through their dam-building activities. They were reintroduced to Tayside in 2001, after being hunted to extinction 300 years ago, and gained protected status in Scotland in May 2019. Beavers can, at times, cause problems for farmers and landowners, but there are better solutions than killing them: including mitigation (protecting trees, etc.) or allowing beavers to be legally transported to other areas of the country where there will be less conflict—which can’t be done under present regulations, even though many landowners in other areas of Scotland would love to have beavers on their own rivers and streams.
You can help commemorate the 87 beavers killed under licence, and persuade the Scottish Government to use killing only as a very last resort, by taking part in a new art project called 87Beavers: In Memoriam. This will be an exhibition of beaver artwork: sketches, watercolours, stuffed toys, papier maché models, sculptures, you name it. We aim to collect 87 different artworks which we’ll display initially online, and then, when lockdown conditions permit, in galleries and public spaces around Scotland. At the end of the project, the 87 beavers will either be returned to the artists or auctioned to raise funds for beaver conservation.
This call goes out to everyone, from professional artists to primary school kids and people from any walk of life, across Scotland and elsewhere. The deadline (for initial submission of photos) is 31 July.
So get "beavering away"! When you’ve completed your artwork, send us a photo at firstname.lastname@example.org along with some information about who you are and why beavers are important to you. We’ll post your image on social media, and get back to you with further instructions about how to submit your physical artwork.
By submitting text, artwork or images, you consent to them being displayed online and in the exhibition.
If you have any questions, want to host the exhibition or help out in any other way, please get in touch via the same email address.
87Beavers: In Memoriam is an art-action project organised by Extinction Rebellion (XR) Scotland. Please note that although XR Scotland does sometimes carry out acts of non-violent civil disobedience (i.e. break the law) to raise awareness of the climate and ecological emergency, this particular action will be 100% legal.