Wildlife group’s call for otter road signs

Picture: Dave Webb

Picture: Dave Webb - Credit: Archant

Otter numbers are rising but vehicles remained the animals’ biggest threat, say conservationists.

Picture: Dave Webb

Picture: Dave Webb - Credit: Archant

Wildlife conservationists are calling for new road signs to warn motorists about the possibility of wandering otters.

The UK Wild Otter Trust has identified a number of local accident black spots and is calling on Devon County Council to consider its proposal following reports of recent otter road deaths.

The trust, set up by North Molton wildlife enthusiast Dave Webb, said otter numbers were rising in North Devon and other parts of the country, but vehicles remained the animals’ biggest threat.

Dave said: “In May we had a report of one being killed by Barnstaple’s Portmore roundabout, close to the golf course ponds on the A361.

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“This week we had another reported this side of Muddiford.”

“Otters are known to travel long distances and, more often than not, it is the dog otter that comes into a fatal contact with motorists.

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“The trust estimates that 1,500 to 2,000 otters are killed on UK roads every year.

“The population can not sustain these losses,” added Dave. “Losing just one can have a devastating impact on the population in that area.”

A spokesman for Devon County Council said: “We’d be happy to work with the UK Wild Otter Trust in identifying sites where signs might need to be installed.”

Anyone who finds a dead otter is urged to report it to the trust on 01598 740192 or the Environment Agency on 03708 506506.

For more information about the UK Wild Otter Trust click here.

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