DRIVERS are being asked to take extra care between dusk and dawn around Cotswold Water Park where the risk of roadkill among otters is particularly high.

Although the recovery of the UK’s native otter has been hailed a conservation success story, having come back from local extinctions to now being present in every county, the recovery is increasingly bringing them into contact with humans and their cars.

In the last month alone, four dead otters have been found on the roads in the Cotswold Water Park, compared with only one in the whole of 2015.

Ben Welbourn, Biodiversity and Estates Manager for the Cotswold Water Park Trust said:

“It’s really good news that otters are now present across the whole Cotswold Water Park and the Upper Thames catchment, and the fact that they’re coming into contact with cars is perhaps a reflection of their growing numbers. However, given that a male otter can have a territory of up to 40km of watercourse, losing even just one on the roads can have a significant effect on the population.”

“All otter carcasses are submitted to the long-running Otter Project at Cardiff University who carry out research into aquatic contaminants, disease, and population biology, so it is important to let either the Trust or the Environment Agency know if you see one."