Russian Journal of Theriology. Main page    

Russian Journal of Theriology. Main page
Free access to the published articles
Information about online submission, Articles format, Instructions for authors etc
Instructions for reviewers
Subscription and prices

Русскоязычный вариант сайта
The history and legacy of reintroduction of beavers in the European North of Russia
Danilov P.I., Fyodorov F.V.
P. 43-48
In the European North of Russia the Eurasian beaver had been extirpated over two hundred years ago. Owing to active introduction and dispersals from the 1930s to the 1950s, beavers have re-colonized the natural ecosystems in the European North. Furthermore, Finland and Russia (Karelia, Leningrad and Arkhangelsk provinces) are now co-inhabited by two beaver species — the North American (Castor canadensis Kuhl) and the Eurasian (C. fiber L.) beaver. North American beavers, which have colonized a major part of Finland, Karelia and the Karelian Isthmus in the Leningrad Province, descended from the seven animals brought to Finland from the USA in the 1930s (Linnamies, 1956; Siivonen, 1956; Lahti, 1968). Subsequent intraregional translocations of these animals took place in both Finland and Russia (n=270). The main origins of Eurasian beavers introduced in provinces adjacent to Karelia (Arkhangelsk, Vologda and Leningrad provinces) (n=1349) were the Voronezh Province (26.5% of all releases in the study area), Republic of Belarus (20.8%), Mari El Republic (12.5%), Smolensk Province (6.2%), Bryansk Province (5.3%), Ryazan Province (3.6%), Komi Republic (1.5%), and other regions (5.6%). Intraregional translocations of the Eurasian beaver were also conducted (18%). In total, more than 1800 Eurasian beavers were introduced in the European North of Russia (Murmansk, Leningrad, Novgorod, Pskov, Arkhangelsk and Vologda provinces). The present-day North American beaver population is estimated at 12000 animals in Karelia and 1000 in the Karelian Isthmus, Leningrad Province (Danilov et al., 2007, 2012). Eurasian beaver numbers are estimated at 4000 animals in Karelia (Danilov & Fyodorov, unpublished data), with fewer than 40 beavers in the Murmansk Province (Kataev, 2015), 23000 in the Leningrad Province, 25000 in the Novgorod Province, 17600 in the Pskov Province, 21000 in the Arkhangelsk Province, and 32600 animals in the Vologda Province (Borisov, 2011). Presently, Eurasian beavers live in those areas in southern Karelia that were inhabited by North American beavers since they were released there at the end of the 1960s, i.e. one species has been replaced by the other (Danilov et al., 2007, 2011; Danilov & Fyodorov, 2015a). In southern Karelia, the closest distance between colonies of different beaver species is 10 km. Conversely, in north-eastern Karelia (Kemsky District), North American beavers penetrated into the Arkhangelsk Province and are colonizing areas inhabited by the Eurasian beaver. In 2015, they were spotted in the Arkhangelsk Province, 70 km east of the administrative border with Karelia.

DOI: 10.15298/rusjtheriol.15.1.07


  • Borisov B.P. 2011. [Beaver] // [The state of game resources in the Russian Federation in 2008–2010]. Moscow: Fizicheskaya Kultura. P. 86–90 [in Russian].
  • Danilov P.I. 1972. [The acclimatization and some ecology peculiarities of North American beavers in Karelia] // Russian Journal of Ecology. Vol.5. P.102–104 [in Russian].
  • Danilov P.I. 1975. [The state and prospects of North American beaver populations in Karelian ASSR] // Transactions of the Voronezh State Nature Reserve. Vol.21. No.1. P.105–113 [in Russian].
  • Danilov P.I. & Fyodorov F.V. 2015a. The history and implications of beaver return to the European North of Russia // Abstracts of 7th International Beaver Symposium. Voronezh. P.21.
  • Danilov P.I. & Fyodorov F.V. 2015b. [Comparative characterization of the building activity of North American and Eurasian beavers in northern European Russia] // Russian Journal of Ecology. Vol.46. No.3. P.212–218 [in Russian].
  • Danilov P.I., Fyodorov F.V., Belkin V.V., Tirronen K.F. & Panchenko D.V. 2012. Present day situation with North American and Eurasian beavers in the European North of Russia // Abstracts of 6th International Beaver Symposium. Ivaniж-Grad, Croatia. P.79.
  • Danilov P.I., Kanshiev V.Ya. & Fyodorov F.V. 2007. [Beavers of the Russian European North]. Moscow: Nauka. 200 p. [in Russian].
  • Danilov P., Kanshiev V. & Fyodorov F. 2011. History of beavers in Eastern Fennoscandia from the Neolithic to the 21st century // Restoring the Eurasian Beaver. 50 Years of Experience. Pensoft Publishers. P.27–39.
  • Ermala A., Helminen M. & Lahti S. 1989. Some aspects of the occurrence, abundance and future of the Finnish beaver population // Suomen Riista. Vol.35. P.108–118.
  • Ivanov P.D. 1975. [North American beaver in the Karelian Isthmus of Leningrad Province] // Transactions of the Voronezh State Nature Reserve. Vol.21. No.1. P.114–120 [in Russian].
  • Kataev G.D. 2015. Long-term observations over re-introduced beavers Castor fiber orientoeuropaeus on Kola Peninsula, NW Russia // Abstracts of 7th International Beaver Symposium. Voronezh. P.35.
  • Lahti S. 1968. Majava [Beaver] // Suomen Luonto. No.5. P.110–111.
  • Lahti S. & Helminen M. 1969. History of reintroductions and present population status of the beaver in Finland // Suomen Riista. Vol.21. P.67–75.
  • Lahti S. & Helminen M. 1980. Suomen majavien levinneisyyden muutokset vuosina 1965–1975 // Suomen Riista. Vol.27. P.70–77.
  • Linnamies O. 1956. Majavien esiintymisesta ja niiden aihenttamista vahingoista maassamme // Suomen Riista. Vol.10. P.63–86 [in Finnish, with English summary].
  • Provorov N.V. 1963. [Review of the results of the beaver reintroduction in the North-West of RSFSR] // [Game fauna and game management in the North-West of RSFSR]. Leningrad. P.99–123 [in Russian].
  • Provorov N.V. 1969. [Present state of beaver colonies in the north-western regions of European part of RSFSR, prospects their growth and possibilities of using in the during nearest five-year period] // Transactions of Voronezh State Nature Reserve. Vol.16. P.75–79 [in Russian].
  • Safonov V.G. & Pavlov M.P. 1973. [Beaver] // [Introduction of the game animals and birds in the USSR]. Kirov: Volgo-Vyatskoe knizhnoe izdatelstvo. P.203–294 [in Russian].
  • Saveljev A.P. 1989. [Comparative biological characteristic of the European and Canadian beavers in the USSR (adaptive changes during acclimatization)]. Dissertatsiya Kandidata Biologicheskikh Nauk [PhD Dissertation in Zoology]. Moscow. 174 p. [in Russian].
  • Saveljev A.P. 2003. [Biological peculiarities of aboriginal and artificially created beaver populations in Eurasia and their significance for the resource management strategy]. Dissertatsiya Doktora Biologicheskikh Nauk [Dr.Sci Dissertation in Zoology]. Kirov: Russian Research Institute of Game Management and Fur Farming. 201 p. [in Russian].
  • Schwartz S.S. [Ecological mechanisms of evolution]. Moscow: Nauka. 278 p. [in Russian].
  • Segal A.N. & Orlova S.A. 1961. [The beaver appearance in Karelia] // Zoologicheskii Zhurnal. Vol.40. No.10. P.1580–1583 [in Russian].
  • Semyonov-Tyan-Shansky O.I. 1938. [Re-introduction of beavers in the Lapland State Nature Reserve] // Transactions of Lapland State Nature Reserve. Vol.1. P.177–216 [in Russian].
  • Siivonen L. 1956. [Suuri nisäkäskirja]. Helsinki. 800 s. [in Finnish].

Download PDF