Saturday, 8 December 2012

Arran Otter Road Casualty Survey



Its a year since I took this photo of an an injured dog otter who had been knocked down on the road near Blackwaterfoot. He was tucked up in a wheelie bin and on his way to Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Trust.   Sadly, he didn't survive, and my heart was broken in to many little pieces. Despite trying to be hard nosed and unsentimental when it comes to wild animals, I'm just not! I wrote about the incident at the time, and it has stayed with me ever since.

There is very little data or information about the state of Arran's otter population. Anecdotal evidence suggests that their numbers have increased in recent years, and this may be reflected in a rise in road casualties.  There certainly isn't anything to suggest from my own observations that Arran's otters are in trouble or that their numbers are being affected by the death toll on the road.  However, there is a welfare concern when animals are being killed on the roads- especially if orphaned cubs are involved, as is sometimes the case.

The subject came up at a talk on otters that I presented to the Arran Natural History Society on Thursday evening. It was agreed by the members that it would be useful to find out if there are any particular accident blackspots for Arran's otters, and I agreed to be a point of contact for gathering the data.  So there it is, a survey of otter road casualties.  You heard it here first.  If you find a dead otter on the road on Arran, please report it to me at info@arranwildwalks.co.uk.  I'm keen to know the precise location- a grid reference if possible.

1 comment:

Lucy Wallace said...

Just over a week since we agreed to begin the survey, and I've had a report of an otter knocked down and killed just south of Whiting Bay. Please take care on the dark roads and look out for wildlife.