Farmers and landowners have joined forces to help a Scottish Government agency defend itself for handing out licences to kill wild beavers.
The Scottish Government’s wildlife agency is under attack for including images of dead beavers - including one displayed by children - in shooting lessons for Tayside farmers.
The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is investigating the death of a beaver in Perthshire just two days after the season for lethal control of the animals opened.
The Scottish Government is under growing pressure to act after confirmation that 87 beavers have been shot under licence in the eight months since they were given official protected status.
Farmers and landowners have killed around a hundred wild beavers in Tayside in a cull condemned as "sickening" and "shameful" by campaigners.
Rare birds in a conservation area on the Firth of Tay have been “devastated” by a huge wildfire during a dry spell in April, according to wildlife experts.
Two beavers have been shot and another five were seen dead on Tayside in the last month, an investigation by The Ferret has revealed.
Scottish Government plans to simultaneously introduce legal protection to beavers while giving licences to land managers to shoot them have raised concerns.
Farmers and gamekeepers are shooting “as many beavers as possible” on Tayside before they are brought under legal protection, according to emails released by the Scottish Government.