In 2009 and 2010 16 Norwegian Eurasian beavers (Castor fiber) were reintroduced to Knapdale, Scotland as part of a 5-yr reintroduction trial (Scottish Beaver Trial). Despite numerous reintroduction programs throughout Europe there is no published information concerning recommended health surveillance during beaver reintroduction and only one publication describing causes of mortality. We describe the establishment of a health surveillance program based on International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and governmental guidelines, and report preliminary results based on the fecal and blood samples following the completion of the first stage of reintroduction. Animals underwent at least one general anesthetic to allow collection of fecal and blood samples and a thorough clinical examination. No bacterial enteric pathogens such as Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp., or Yersinia pseudotuberculosis were isolated, nor were Giardia spp. or Cryptosporidium spp. However, numerous helminths including Travassosius rufus and Stichorchis subtriquetrus were detected. Five animals were positive for Leptospira antibodies. This included Leptospira saxkoebing, Leptospira canicola, Leptospira copenhageni, Leptospira icterohaemorrhagiae, Leptospira autumnalis, and Leptospira javanica. The highest loss of animals (20%) was during the statutory 6-mo rabies quarantine period. No common cause of death was determined. The rabies quarantine conditions were waived for four remaining animals, three of which were introduced to the wild successfully. The authors recommend the shortest possible quarantine period when introducing beavers, but allowing for the minimum recommended IUCN 35 days to allow for implementation of the initial stage of the health surveillance program, examination of animals, sample collection, and processing.
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Vol. 48 • No. 4