In the 1970s, when the scale of the otter's pesticide-induced decline became apparent in Britain, the Trust became heavily involved in otter (Lutra lutra) conservation. Its Otter Haven Project helped to protect and improve riparian habitats in strategic areas in England and Wales, enabling fragile populations to survive and recover. Subsequently, the Trust made a major contribution to a series of nationwide otter distribution surveys in Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.
Another contribution was the mass production and free distribution of fyke net guards to prevent otters from drowning in these nets. The Trust has also rescued many injured and orphaned otters, rehabilitating them to the wild in a release project to repopulate the River Derwent in North Yorkshire. Otters are now recovering well in Britain, and other organisations are leading the effort on otter monitoring and practical conservation work.
Today, the Trust is engaged in otter surveys in west Wales as part of our MISE project. This aims to use DNA extracted from otter spraint to obtain information about otter populations and diet. If you are interested in taking part in an otter survey, please refer to our MISE project page for information on upcoming surveys.