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Day promises to be otter-ly good fun

By Lucy Todman | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

They are gradually returning to the rivers of Shropshire and will this week be celebrated in World Otter Day.

An otter

Tomorrow (WEDS), members of Shropshire Wildlife Trust will be hosting a day of events to mark international day of the otter.

The free family day will be held in the garden area of Shropshire Wildlife Trust's headquarters in The Cut, Abbey Foregate.

An area will be set up for children to carry out an otter survey to learn about the way they can keep an eye out for otters as well as guided pond dipping to learn about freshwater habitats and how important it is for us to keep them clean.

Jenna Shaw, Shropshire Otter Project officer, said: “It will be a lovely day for everybody to celebrate otters but to also learn about them and how we can help ensure their survival by looking after our rivers and streams.”

World Otter Day was set-up by the International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF) to celebrate but to also raise awareness of the struggles otters face, such as persecution for their fur, polluted rivers and habitat destruction. It is on the last Wednesday of May every year.

Shropshire Wildlife Trust is joining World Otter Day as part of their Shropshire Otter Project. The aims of which include promoting the importance of clean water and submitting otter sightings, training volunteers in surveying for otter signs and maintaining the otter distribution map by looking at the relationship between otter success and water condition.

The late 1950s to early 60s saw a catastrophic decline in otter populations due to water pollution, habitat loss and persecution for their fur. Thanks to conservation efforts, reduction in hunting and cleaning of rivers and water bodies populations are now steadily increasing.

Otter populations are fragmented throughout England but there have been many sightings in the River Severn, Shropshire. It is mostly absent from parts of central and southern England, the Isle of Man, the Isles of Scilly and the Channel Islands.

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Last November a family of otters were spotted foraging for food on the banks of the River Severn.

And a mother and her three young pups were spotted by Shropshire Wildlife Trust's camera traps.

The trust says the return of otters to the water also shows that the River Severn is the healthiest it's been in years.

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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