A controversial cull of hedgehogs in the Western Isles of Scotland is to resume in the spring.
The cull is to resume and be extended
Environment quango Scottish Natural Heritage SNH has also decided to extend the cull from North Uist to Benbecula and in the following year to South Uist.
SNH said it has no other option because the hedgehogs have been eating the eggs of the protected breeding wader birds which populate the islands.
Animal welfare groups in the Western Isles have attacked the killings, arguing that the deaths are inhumane.
SNH chairman John Markland said the decision to continue the cull had been taken "with reluctance".
He said: "These hedgehogs should not be there.
"They have been moved here by man but they are causing a devastating impact on the wading birds there, but we have decided that we must continue with the cull of hedgehogs."
"We are moving from North Uist to Benbecula because that is the direction in which the hedgehogs are moving and it's important that we deal with those areas."
He promised a scientific study into whether the hedgehogs could be relocated and said SNH's position would be reviewed next year.
Protesters tried to save the animals when the scheme began on North Uist in the summer.