March 15, 2011 3.29 pm This story is over 156 months old

Local river otters get onto Facebook

Otter revival: Anglian Water and charities are helping the otter’s revival with a survey on Facebook.

River otters in the county are now on Facebook.

Anglian Water is funding voluntary RiverCare groups in the county, one of which is in Lincoln, and they will monitor a stretch of river locally.

Through RiverCare’s Facebook page, individuals can record their sightings on the Otterly Fabulous Survey.

Anglian Water and the RiverCare scheme are trying to record where otters can be found in the East Midlands, due to low numbers in the past.

River otter numbers declined in the 1960s due to pollution, habitat loss, poisoning due to farming pesticides and being hit on the roads.

Though recently, numbers have started to rise again and Anglian Water want to encourage the growth.

The survey will be shared with local Wildlife Trusts to aide conservation efforts.

The otters are most likely to be found in lakes, streams, rivers or ponds, providing there is a good food source.

In Lincoln, otters will possibly be spotted at Hartsholme Park and Swanholme Lakes, Whisby Nature Park, Stamp End and the River Witham.

Environmental Performance Scientist at Anglian Water Lisa Taylor said: “We are all very excited at the thought of what this survey might show up.

“RiverCare has been running for more than 10 years now, but the Facebook page is a new development.

“We think it has the potential to bring all the RiverCare groups together, sharing their experiences.

“It will also be a central point where they can get information on waterside mammals, including otters, and what to look out for, as well as an easy way to share what they find.

“We are interested in their descriptions, photos or video of footprints, droppings, and feeding signs from otters, water voles and mink.

She added: “Anglian Water has its own Biodiversity Action Plan to help species found on our sites.

“Otters and water voles are among the animals we want to help and surveys like this are a great starting point; we need to know where they are and where they are absent.

“If this goes well then we plan to do similar surveys for other species.

“They have the potential to make an important contribution to our knowledge of the most vulnerable plants and animals.”

Source: Anglian Water | Photo: Annmarie Victory