Rare Otter sighting at Longleat Safari Park
By nhavergal | Wednesday, November 07, 2012, 14:56
A rare Otter has been spotted at Longleat Safari and Adventure along the stream which runs through the estate.
Wild Otter at Longleat captured by Longleat's Director of Animal Operations, Jon Cracknell.
Wild Otter by Bridge at Longleat. Picture: Longleat's Director of Animal Operations, Jon Cracknell.
Longleat's Director of Animal Operations Jon Cracknell found the Otter capturing pictures of it playing in the stream.
He said: "We'd started getting reports earlier in the week that an otter had been sighted and keepers had spotted some footprints and other signs down by the water's edge."
The only reported species of Otter in the UK is the Eurasion Otter but around the late 1970s there became a decline in Otters.
Otters are more commonly found in Scotland with a small number remaining in England and Wales making this a rare sighting at the park.
Longleat keepers have now put cameras along the stream in hopes of capturing more footage of wild animals.
"We spend a lot of time, energy and resources trying to make the entire estate as attractive as possible for a wide range of native species," Jon Cracknell added.
The decline in the native animal was due to water pollution by pesticides as well as being hunted as a 'sport' to protect fish stocks and for their fur.
Jon said: "It's fantastic to know that all that effort is working and hopefully this will encourage more wild otters into the surrounding areas to re-establish a stronghold here on the borders of north east Somerset and Wiltshire," said Jon.
The number of Otters in England is slowly increasing however still a vulnerable species.