'Project Otter' launched to survey population in the Vale

  Posted: 16.02.21 at 10:32 by Ellyn Wright

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A project to establish the state of the otter population in the Vale of Glamorgan is seeking help from the public.

‘Project Otter’ will be led by officers from the Countryside Service of the Vale of Glamorgan Council and work closely with the Cardiff University Otter Project, Project Splatter, and officers from Natural Resources Wales.

The project is set to be funded by £10,000 from the Waterloo Foundation.

Porthkerry Site Ranger Melanie Stewart said: “In the meantime we would like to receive as much info from public on any sightings or evidence of otters, also hear from any member s of public who would like to be involved in the survey work – training will be given.”

The project sets out how the European otter is widely recognised as an emblem for nature conservation in the UK because it is a top predator and an important biological indicator of the health of our rivers and wetlands.

“Monitoring the status of the otter therefore gives us a valuable measure of the state of our water and wetland Ecosystems,” reads the outline.

An otter footprint

“In Wales as in much of the UK, it is a largely nocturnal animal and is rarely observed in the wild. It is however possible to detect its presence by searching for its distinctive droppings (spraints) and footprints.

“The 2009-10 survey brought the total sites to be surveyed as 1108 . Signs of otters were recorded at 996 sites giving the percentage of positive sites as 89.89%. The results of this fifth national survey show a
continued trend of recovery for the otter with some individual catchments attaining full capacity for the species.

"NRW and the University of Cardiff Otter Project are currently writing up the most recent survey results. These have not yet been published but will be available for this project.

“Otters have been recorded on all rivers in the Vale – most records through the NRW surveys above but these surveys tend to be a snapshot, very limited survey period and do not capture lots of known records.

The Council and Cardiff University Otter Project have received lots of otter sightings through anecdotal records from members of the public, wildlife cameras and on social media sites – e.g. several recent records
from Porthkerry Country Park, Fonmon Estate , Rhoose Point, Cosmeston , Lavernock and Llantwit beach area.

An artificial otter holt

"We would like to build a better picture of otter populations throughout the Vale.”

The project aims to assess whether otter presence is continuing in areas of the Vale, which showed positive results in previous surveys, whether otters are found in any other areas of the Vale and to help formulate a plan to provide better habitat connectivity within the Vale which will benefit otters and many other forms of wildlife.

To find out more email [email protected] or [email protected]

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