25th Anniversary Essex Otter Survey-From Extinction to Recovery

Otter. Photo: Roger Hance

Essex Wildlife Trust are looking for volunteers to help with the 2019-2020 annual Essex Otter survey.

The survey, which runs from October 2019 to June 2020 will mark the 25th Anniversary of the annual county survey, which began in 1996 as a research project by the University of Essex before being incorporated into Riversearch in 2007.

Otters have been part of the fossil record in the British Isles for half a million years, but by the 1970s they had declined drastically. By 1986, when the National Otter Survey reached Essex, the Otter was extinct in the county altogether.

Although Otters have been persecuted throughout history, the population crash came as a result of poor water quality. Pollutants including lead, organochlorines and DDT, accumulated in waterbodies and the fish they fed on and interfered with Otter’s reproductive systems, leading to infertility and whole generations dying without offspring to replace them.

Essex Wildlife Trust are looking for both new volunteers and experienced surveyors, all of whom will be credited in the final report and have a copy of the report made available to them. Training will be provided.

For more information on how to take part please get in touch with Natalie Singleton, River Catchment Assistant, Essex Wildlife Trust: riverw@essexwt.org.uk or 01621 862974, or visit the Essex Rivers Hub for details.