Beavers have returned to northern France for the first time in 150 years, animal experts have confirmed.
After six months of study, biodiversity researchers in Valenciennes said that European beavers were again living in the Avesnois, near Lille.
It is believed the animals have moved down into the area from Belgium, where the species had been reintroduced in the late 1990s.
"The office français de la biodiversité has confirmed that there is no possible confusion" with another type of rodent, Maxime Ruyffelaere, told La Voix du Nord on Sunday.
A biodiversity census in 2007 noted beavers in the same area, but these are the first animals to set up a permanent home in France in a century and a half.
The species is found elsewhere in France, notably in the Loire basin, and around the Meuse and Moselle rivers. They can also be found in the Saône/Doubs basin and, downstream of the Tarn, in the whole Garonne basin. In 2012, about 50 departments reported at least one pair of animals in their area.
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