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Where can you take the family otter spotting in England?
There’s something seriously cute about otters, which is why they’re everyone’s favorite at zoos and aquariums. Kids and adults alike love their active, playful nature. They’re clever too: in order not to drift away while asleep on their backs, they ‘hold hands’ (pictured).
They hit the news today as two otters have been seen in Kent, which means they have now returned to rivers in every English county. Meanwhile the presence of otters in the river Ribble in Lancashire has increased by 44% increase since 2008, reports the BBC. This is great news as the cute creatures had almost disappeared from England by the 1970s due to hunting and toxic pesticides damaging their health and food supply.
So residents of Kent have two reasons to take heart. Not only are the otters back, but a new wetland home for otters is planned for the Wildwood Discovery Park near Canterbury, where they can live in a near natural habitat. And Surrey Wildlife Trust is also hoping to boost their county's otter numbers by making improvements to its riverbanks and building more artificial otter homes.
One of the best places in Europe to see otters is north of the border: off the Morven peninsula on Scotland’s west coast, off the Isle of Mull and in the Shetland Isles. But it’s good to know that the rivers in England are becoming healthy enough to hold otters, salmon and other wildlife and that we might not have to go so far from home!
Visit www.shetlandotters.com for information on otter spotting in the Shetlands and www.wildlifemull.co.uk for Mull.