‘300 sites, 50 surveyors, how many otters?’ - survey gets underway

50 surveyors are surveying 300 sites across Cambridgeshire as part of the five-yearly Otter survey

50 surveyors are surveying 300 sites across Cambridgeshire as part of the five-yearly Otter survey that started 30 years ago in 1992. - Credit: Wildlife Trust

A five-yearly Otter survey that includes the surveying of 300 sites by 50 surveyors, is currently underway across Cambridgeshire. 

Conducted by the Wildlife Trust, Cambridgeshire mammal group, the environment agency and the middle level commissioners, surveyors will be looking to find clues of their presence along waterways. 

Some of the indicators they’ll be looking for are finding Otter droppings, known as spraint. 

Each spraint contains and conveys information such as whether the Otter is male or female and if they’re in season. 

Places such as ledges, rocks and tree roots generally make good places for spraint and sometimes Otters scrape up earth to create their own platform. 

50 surveyors are surveying 300 sites across Cambridgeshire as part of the five-yearly Otter survey

50 surveyors are surveying 300 sites across Cambridgeshire as part of the five-yearly Otter survey that started 30 years ago in 1992. - Credit: Wildlife Trust

The Trust’s water for wildlife officer, Ruth Hawksley, said: “The survey is going well; we’ve surveyed more than half of the sites so far.

“I’m very excited about the possible spraint analysis and really hope it will help us estimate the number of otters present, rather than us just recording the number of signs.” 

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The results of the survey are due next month (March).