Otters now responsible for deaths of rare birds

The UK’s growing otter population is not only working its way through our freshwater fish stocks, but is now affecting the breeding habits of our birds, too.

Angling Times can reveal that the RSPB’s own ‘poster boy’, the avocet, is having its breeding disrupted by the ever increasing numbers of otters in and around Norfolk’s Wensum river system, leading experts to fear for other wildlife as the predatory mammal’s numbers grow.

Having been an acute problem for the river’s fish population for many years, the mass and subsequently unchecked reintroduction of otters across the UK is devastating fish stocks around the country. This latest revelation, combined with the statement by Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon reported in last week’s AT that ‘otter numbers need to be regulated’, adds further weight to calls for this apex predator’s numbers to be checked.

Founder of Norfolk’s Pensthorpe nature reserve, the home of BBC’s Springwatch, Bill Makins spoke to AT about the issue.

“Otters have always been around this area, but never in these numbers. There are now so many that they’re having a hugely disruptive impact on the breeding avocets we have at the Buxton Conservation Trust, of which I’m a trustee…

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