A plan to re-introduce a pair of European beavers into the Welsh countryside has been criticised by the Farmers’ Union of Wales.
Ceredigion-based Wales Wild Land Foundation is in the process of building an enclosed habitat for the beavers at Artist’s Valley, near Machynlleth, and is hoping to introduce the beavers this coming summer.
"The introduction of any non-native species into the country is a great concern for farmers in Wales," said FUW’s land use and parliamentary chairman Richard Vaughan.
"We only have to look at the problems associated with the grey squirrel and rabbit, both non-native species, to see the potential for conflict in the future.
"The Union is also concerned at the problems Scotland is currently experiencing where beavers have escaped from private collections and are evading capture whilst travelling long distances, causing significant damage to trees.
"It seems a re-introduction of a species that has not been native to Wales since the 12th century is crazy .
"We are concerned that the introduction of these animals could ultimately cause conflict with agricultural and forestry management. If these animals should escape they are legally protected by EU legislation and, as currently reported in Scotland, controlling them could prove difficult.
"Recent experiences within the industry, particularly with regards to controlling the spread of bovine TB in wildlife, has left many farmers wary of any project that could introduce a potentially problem species into Wales," Mr Vaughan added.