This is one of the UK’s most famous mammals but is also one of the most scarce having been effectively wiped out from much of it’s traditional range between the 1950 to 1990. Fortunately this massive decline was noticed in time so that steps could be taken to reverse it. A combination of pollution in the waterways, increased traffic on roads and decline in fish stocks forced this aquatic mammal out into the wilds away from major river systems, towns and cities.
Pesticides introduced in the 1950’s led to pollution at the very bottom of the food chain which worked its way all the way through to the otters at the top. Much of these pesticides have now been phased out so the threat from poor water quality and poisoned food is much reduced.
Today otters are found in reasonable numbers in North Western Scotland, Cumbria, Devon and Cornwall. They have also been re-introduced to other counties around the UK and population numbers have started to increase, although road accidents have already started to take their toll in some parts. Because of these re-introduction programs you are now six or seven times more likely to see an otter in your local river than you were just 10 years ago.
Taken at Buckfastleigh Otter Sanctury Devon