Otters & Rivers
Helping to bring otters back to our rivers
Otters in Surrey
Until 40 years ago wild otters were found throughout Britain. By the early 1970s they had disappeared from the Thames region and could only be found in a handful of English counties and in their strongholds in Scotland and Wales.
Otters are beginning to make a slow recovery, but progress is threatened by road deaths and a continuing loss of wild places where they can live undisturbed.
Our Project Officer is working to:
- Create and restore riverside habitat throughout Surrey in collaboration with The Environment Agency.
- Help and advise landowners who wish to improve their land for wildlife.
- Educate and train students and volunteers to help with surveys and habitat improvements.
- Construct artificial otter homes by rivers to encourage natural recolonisation.
- Influence highway authorities to lessen the impact of roads and bridges on otters and other riverside inhabitants.
- Liaise with landowners, fishing clubs, conservation bodies, schools and wildlife clubs to explain the plight of the otter and how everyone can help in its return.
Otters on the increase
Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) targets have been produced highlighting the need to enable otters to return to 85% of its former river habitat by 2015.
In the late 1970’s only 6% of traditional sites in England had evidence of otters. The work of local wildlife trusts and water companies to improve water quality, riverbank habitats and wetlands has helped the otter populations establish and grow. Allowing otters to return to rivers where they haven’t been seen for decades.
Scientific surveys have shown that otters have returned to at least 75% of their original territory. This doesn’t mean that these rivers have established long-term sustainable populations – in some cases it may be one or two otters moving back to an area. But it is a good sign. The biggest improvements have been seen in England, where otters can be found in twice as many areas as they could 10 years ago.
Although otter numbers in London and the South East are still low, this is a clear indication that the population is breeding and spreading.
How you can help:.
- Adopt an Otter.
- Support the project with a donation or Join Surrey Wildlife Trust.
- Get actively involved by joining your local otter volunteer force.
- Report habitat destruction or pollution incidents to the Environment Agency (free hotline no: 0800 807060).
- Avoid disturbance to wildlife on riverbanks and other likely otter habitats.
- Keep up-to-date on the project's progress by revisiting this website.
If you would like to help or want to know more about the project please contact us on:
Tel: 01483 795440
Otter Spotters Guide