Questions and Answers: In-Depth Responses
I am studying Animal Science with the UEA based on the Easton campus. I have two assignments that I was hoping you could help me with. Both essays are on the European Otter in inland freshwater habitats. The first centres on the current conservation status in Britain. If you could point me in the right direction to find information such as the current population in mainland UK, regional population density, previous release sites and how these sites were chosen. Plus any data relating to East Anglia that you think is relevant.
The second essay focuses on the behaviour exhibited in choosing "Holt" sites. I need to locate and photograph occupied Holts, measure the proximity to water, height above water table, record the soil and water quality and the density and type of cover.
Then I need to find similar published data, compare and deduce the type of behaviour involved.
Charlie Reynolds , 7 March 2007
Response from Lesley Wright
The most current information for the whole of England is the Environment Agency's Fourth Otter Survey of England (2000-2002). More recent surveys have been done in localised areas, and the Wildlife Trusts are probably the best source of information about these.
We also suggest that you contact Geoff Liles (contact email sent to you) as he does a lot of survey work across the country. He should also be able to help you with the holt information. Hans Kruuk's book contains information and references to help as well.
Another useful resource is Hans Kruuk's books (and some of his papers)
Ecology, Behaviour and Conservation (2006)
His original Wild Otters book has a lot about holts in Shetland
Wild Otters: Predation and Population
The IOSF on Skye might be able to help too.
Response provided 30 March 2007