The Somerset Otter Group is a loose association of active enthusiasts, who try to look after the fragile population of this rare animal. The group has recorded and studied otters for over twenty years, charting their remarkable come-back since the 1980s. Sadly these charismatic creatures are still vulnerable and the group’s survey work is vital for monitoring the population in Somerset.
The group works with researchers to study the effect of the recently introduced bile fluke on otters, and to find out more about the county’s population. Advice can be provided to fishery owners on predation problems and prevention measures. The group works with Somerset Environmental Records Centre, Somerset Wildlife Trust and other organisations.
The group holds meetings, often featuring guest speakers. Surveyors are kept updated by e.mail and the website.
Surveyors adopt a stretch of river, which they check once a month for signs. A weekend recording event takes place every April, when sites are checked for signs of activity overnight to get a snap-shot of the population.
New surveyors receive training from more experienced surveyors. Information about how to survey and record, what to look for and keeping safe is accessible on the web site.
For enquires contact Jo Pearse on 07855 773697 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Take a look at the Somerset Otter Group website or follow them on Facebook.
Please report all dead otters directly to Jo Pearse promptly (at the above telephone number). If a body can be recovered it goes for post mortem to Cardiff University. These records also help pinpoint incident hotspots and target mitigation schemes accordingly. Cardiff University Otter Project runs a long term environmental surveillance scheme, using otters found dead to investigate contaminants, disease, and population biology across the UK.
Details of live sightings and records of signs can be sent to SERC.