Wild beavers returned to River Otter after health check
The only wild beavers in England have been released back into their river home after being given a clean bill of health.
The beavers were temporarily captured for testing from the River Otter in Devon, where they have been living wild for at least three years.
Tests revealed they were free of bovine TB and a parasitic tapeworm.
Devon Wildlife Trust said it was "delighted" the animals had returned to the river.
DNA tests also confirmed the animals were Eurasian beavers, a species found in the UK before being hunted to extinction several hundred years ago, rather than North American beavers.
Evidence emerged in 2014 they had produced young, known as kits, and ministers said they intended to trap the beavers, test them for disease and rehome them in captivity.
The move was opposed by wildlife experts, who put forward plans for a five-year trial monitoring them in the wild, with the support of local people, and Natural England, who gave the scheme the go-ahead subject to the mammals being found clear of disease.
'Coped very well'
The five beavers - two adult pairs and one kit - have been temporarily homed in captivity in Devon with access to water and artificial lodges.
Devon Wildlife Trust's Peter Burgess said: "Today's re-release means that these beavers are back where they belong, in the wild on the River Otter.
"We're delighted and relieved they've coped very well with a short period in captivity and have been given a clean bill of health.
"They've tested free of serious infectious diseases and we're now looking forward to starting the next phase of our work: studying the long-term effects of these wild beavers on the local landscape, on local communities and local wildlife."