Many people ask us where they can see Otters but very few ask us how to watch Otters, and with that in mind we have produced a simple advice guide below to help you to understand the dangers that Otters face and help you enjoy them as much as we do. One of the golden rules is please take your rubbish or litter home with you because this can seriously injure all wildlife. A few examples are below:
RESPONSIBLE OTTER WATCHING
1: Do your research on the species subject …. its so important to know your target species habitat, behaviour and feeding patterns before setting out.
2: Never put a photograph or film clip before the welfare of the Otter.
3: If you are going out with another photographer, know his/her behaviour as well.
4: Wear waterproof, but silent clothing. Otters have acute hearing and will hear you from a long way off.
5: Always stay downwind of them … they also have acute smell.
6: NEVER BAIT ANY AREAS OR OTTERS – by doing so may change their behaviour pattern and will be VERY detrimental to the species.
7: NEVER remove any spraints. These are very important as they are used to communicate with other Otters.
8: Please be aware of how the Otter is behaving. If it changes its behaviour, then there’s a good chance you have disturbed it and should leave quietly.
9: Never disclose exact locations on public media sites like Facebook. This information may get into the wrong hands.
10: Always keep dogs on leads no matter how well behaved it may be.
11: Do your homework to ensure you are fully educated before venturing out to Otter spot.
12: If for any reason you are unsure, there are many good Otter conservation and education groups that are willing to help you and answer any questions.
13: Once you locate Otters, make notes of behaviour, weather and river conditions, numbers, what you saw along with times and dates and then pass this to an Otter group in that area to add to its database for monitoring and survey purposes.
This list is not exhaustive and there are always things to add but it gives you the basics of professional Otter watching.
Below are some illustrations of fencing that has been successfully installed to prevent Otter predation. Also shown is a guide of the actual costs. It should be noted that the members of this small, non profit water did the work with the Fishery manager providing the materials. Fencing can be a contentious subject for some due to cost, but it needn’t be. With a good membership behind you, the protection can be installed for very little and in almost 100% of cases for much less than just one prize fish. (Copyright on fence & costing’s image remains the sole property of Joss Faulkner & should not be reproduced unless express permission of use has been agreed) We are very happy to advise on any aspect of Fishery protection.
Predation by Otters can cause a serious impact on both private & commercial Fisheries. We all know that we are unable to fence every mile of water & we all know that Otters are here to stay and that they are a protected species (rightfully) but we can help by giving preventative advice to those affected.
Therefore, we are happy to offer the following to affected Fisheries:
It is our intention over the next few months to instigate a fencing fund to enable us to help where it matters. We do not want to see Otters persecuted because people feel they have no other avenue and we do not want to see beautiful fishing waters closed down when there is help available. We are unable to confirm the exact number of Otters there are, but we can give simple advice to enable both species to co-exist. All of the above will be given FREE OF CHARGE to successful applicants.
We are also hopeful in working with organisations such as the Angling Trust & Environment Agency in order to strengthen our position with regards to working as a group as we see the benefit of doing so. This will in turn benefit both Angling and Otter conservation for the future. The AT & EA will also advise on Otter predation prevention. The EA can be contacted by calling them on 03708 5060506 and asking for the local Biodiversity & Fisheries Officer.
Visit the OATA website here