Otters make themselves at home

Otter by Margaret Holland

Otter by Margaret Holland

Constructing the Otter holt

Constructing the Otter holt

The recent installation of an artificial otter holt at Pembroke Upper Mill Pond nature reserve has already got tenants.

The structure, which was funded through the Co-op Welsh Wildlife Heroes grant, was installed in April this year with help of local Wildlife Trust volunteers and sits among an area of willow and alder carr on the edge of the reedbed and Pembroke river, that flows through the reserve.

A recent visit by Dave Levell, one of the reserve’s keen volunteers, showed clear evidence of otter activity through tracks and markings leading in and out of the holt along with the identification of many spraints nearby. It is well known that the Pembroke Mill Pond complex has one of the largest urban populations of otter in Wales and that they frequent the Upper Mill Pond nature reserve on almost a daily basis.

Nathan Walton, Wildlife Trust Officer for Pembrokeshire said, “it is great news to know that we now have otters residing on the reserve as opposed to just passing through. The reserve is free from public access which is key to providing good areas of undisturbed habitat and ideal conditions for otter. I am very pleased.”

The otter is one of our most charismatic yet elusive mammals. It is mainly nocturnal and rather shy although good sightings can be seen during the day in the Middle and Lower Mill Ponds. It is also one of conservation’s success stories: following a catastrophic decline during the 1950’s and 1960’s, there are now healthy otter populations throughout most of Wales. This has been brought about by a ban on the most harmful pesticides, and the ongoing protection of their water-side habitats. There are plans to

The otter is a European Protected Species (EPS). It is against the law to damage or destroy an otter breeding site or resting place (holt or couch), or deliberately capture, kill, injure or disturb an otter.

completion of the otter holt hiddenotter spraint

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