An otter is suspected to have killed two beaver kits released at Loch Lomond final month.
The kits, together with their mother and father and three siblings, have been relocated from Tayside to a nature reserve as part of efforts to boost biodiversity.
The useless beavers and an otter have been noticed on distant digital camera footage final week.
Conservationists stated a autopsy examination had confirmed an otter had preyed on one of many kits.
RSPB Scotland, which is concerned within the beaver mission, suspects the second package had suffered the identical destiny. Its physique stays lacking.
In a weblog put up in regards to the deaths, the charity stated young beavers have been susceptible to falling prey to otters, foxes, pine martens, birds of prey and enormous pike.
It added: “Research additionally present that package mortality could be fairly excessive particularly of their first yr.
“None of this makes it any simpler and we’re very unhappy to have misplaced these kits regardless of it being a pure course of.
“Fortunately, the remainder of the household appear to be doing properly.”
Loch Lomond is simply the third location in Scotland the place beavers have been moved to since a reintroduction trial at Knapdale, in Argyll, started in 2009.
Beavers, which have been as soon as native to Scotland earlier than changing into extinct within the sixteenth Century, are a protected species. The animals discovered in the present day have both been released below licence, or let go into the countryside illegally.
In 2021 the Scottish authorities introduced its assist for transferring beavers from the place they have been thought of a pest to extra appropriate habitats.
The pair of grownup beavers and their 5 young offspring have been moved to Loch Lomond from an space in Tayside the place beaver exercise was deemed an issue.
Following a sequence of well being assessments and checks, they have been released at a nationwide nature reserve collectively managed by RSPB Scotland, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs Nationwide Park Authority and NatureScot.
On the time of the discharge, RSPB Scotland director Anne McCall stated: “We’re delighted to have been in a position to provide a house to this household of beavers, dashing up their return to Loch Lomond.
“The nationwide nature reserve, with its mixture of open water, fen and moist woodland, is an ideal place for them.
“As nature’s engineers, they handle and create habitat in methods we might by no means hope to duplicate.”