Sunday, 4 August 2013

Avon Wildlife Safari Day 16 - It's all about otters...

Otters are fun. Their playful and inquisitive nature, diving down in the water or sliding across muddy banks and their adorable faces makes them seem almost child-like. But don't be fooled, these incredibly strong and fast swimmers are intelligent carnivores and great hunters of fish. 

Their conservation status is classified as near threatened and although the European otter was in decline during the second half of the 20th centuryprimarily due to pollution from pesticides such as organochlorine (OCs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), more recently there has been a steady return in numbers. In August, 2011, the Environment Agency announced that otters had returned to every county in England since vanishing from every county except the West Country and parts of Northern England. In the last few years otters have even been seen in Bristol's floating harbour, which is fantastic news and an indication of the improving quality of the water.
If you would like to see an otter and find out more about their characteristics and behaviour then visit the WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre and listen to one of their otter talks. You'll also get a chance to see Mother Flo and twins Minnie and Ha Ha as they tuck into one of their fish suppers. I wonder if they ever get bored of eating the same thing?

The Wildlife Trusts have produced a booklet which share some examples of Wildlife Trust nature reserves where your chances of glimpsing this secretive mammal might be better than
usual. Many of these sites report regular otter sightings or even recorded footage. While we cannot guarantee a visit will result in a sighting, these reserves are worth exploring all the same! 

Please remember that otters are highly sensitive animals  and disturbing otters or their habitat is an offence under the Wildlife & Countryside Act so tread carefully and quietly.

No comments:

Post a Comment