Beavers will become a protected species in Scotland from May, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has said.
The long-awaited and controversial move - opposed by many farmers - follows extensive wrangling over how their numbers should be managed.
Farming leaders have raised concerns about the damage caused to agricultural land from their dam-building.
Scottish Natural Heritage will issue guidance for farmers over the coming weeks.
Ms Cunningham told Radio Scotland's Out of Doors programme: "It is what people have been waiting for, it is what we said we were going to do.
"I do appreciate that for a lot of people it seems to have taken a very long time but these things do. You don't just snap your fingers and do it overnight."