Monday, August 29, 2011

Otter populations in England make a comeback

The Otter (Lutra lutra)  almost become extinct in England from the mid 1950’s through to the early 1970’s due to river pollution and in particular organochlorine pesticides.  This month Environment Agency announced that the otter is now to once again to be found throughout England with 59% of traditional otter sites surveyed (2,940) now colonized compared to just 6% in 1979. Rivers in England are now the cleanest they have been for the past 20 years and with fish stocks improving recolonization of rivers by otters and salmon has been seen as the last step in the restoration of England’s rivers.  Link Otters are also very common on many Irish rivers, but as numbers of otters increase there are concerns from many fishing clubs that their restocking and restoration work is simply filling the otter’s larder!  This has led to some conflict between conservation and angling organizations.

1 comment:

  1. I am interested to find what you mean by conflict? in that what examples in Ireland are you using for this statement? Having worked on an otter conservation project in Cork City there has not appeared to be any conflict with the local fishing clubs. Otters are oportunitist. Their diet is varied e.g. 2011 the highest proportion of prey was 38% Stickleback and 29% eel. DNA analysis also found that rivers and tributaries around cork city centre supports 6 otters. These are different otters each year. I am not sure that we know enough about them to fully comment on their impact upon prey.