A recent Environment Agency survey has shown that Lancashire and South Cumbrian otters numbers are growing from strength the strength.

In May this year Environment Agency officers donned their wellies and waders in the hunt for these elusive mammals along the River Lune including its tributaries. 

Alison Whalley, who organised the survey said: “As otters are nocturnal and elusive we were looking for  secondary signs of otters including their spraints (poo) and footprints.

“We are very pleased with the findings as it shows that the Lune’s otter population, compared to the 2004 survey, has now spread to new sites including the River Keer as well as an increased population around Tebay, Sedbergh, High Bentham and Kirby Lonsdale.”

These positive results show that the Lune otters are steadily recovering from over five decades of decline due to chemicals entering rivers including organochlorine*, used for sheep dip in the 1950s, and PCBs (polychlorineated biphenyls).

John Collins, Lancashire Area Manager, said: “It is very important that we monitor the otter populations in this region.  As top predators, if otters are thriving, it means our rivers are healthy.”