Where beaver have been reintroduced on mainland Europe, there is substantial evidence of revenue and employment generation from nature tourism
The most appropriate sites for initial reintroduction can often be in remoter areas where alternative forms of livelihood from traditional land uses are in decline.
A number of facets make the beaver an ideal candidate for nature tourism:
- They can be readily habituated to human presence – even frequenting neo-urban areas
- Their image, behavioural antics and place in folklore – most recently illustrated in the highly successful film The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe– make them especially attractive to children.
- Since they are best seen at dusk and dawn, organized visits frequently incorporate an overnight stay in order to maximize opportunity for successful viewing.
Benefits from beaver watching can thus include accommodation revenue. Other income is derived from guiding, hide and visitor centre fees, provision of refreshments, retail goods and transport.
Wider benefits include the “umbrella” effect whereby reintroduction boosts tourism for related wildlife, cultural and other more general attractions.
The beaver “brand” can also be used as a useful marketing device for local products and services.