NEW work to discover how many beavers now live in Tayside is to begin this week.

Estimates suggest more than 200 of the mammals may be living around the catchments of the Tay and the Earn and in November one study found more than 20 had been shot in Tayside since 2010.

Unlike the beavers reintroduced in a pilot in Argyll, the Tayside groups are thought to have been illegally released or escaped from private collections.

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Last year Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said both groups could be allowed to expand their range naturally and the new work by Scottish Natural Heritage will help develop management measures.

Recent reports of beaver sightings in the River Devon, the Forth in the Carse of Stirling and the Black Water around Brig O’Turk will also be investigated.