A £3.5m project to save the rare freshwater pearl mussel has begun throughout Britain.

About 50% of the known breeding populations of the rare pearl mussel in Europe are in Britain, and in particular, in Scotland.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) put in a joint bid for European funding.

Scientists hope the action between governments, conservation groups and fishery trusts will secure the future population of the rare mussels.

The four-year project will focus on 21 of the most important conservation sites between Sutherland and Snowdonia.

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