|The Otter Trust is a registered charity and was
founded by Philip and Jeanne Wayre in 1971. In 1975 they purchased River Farm at Earsham
near Bungay to set up the Trust's headquarters. The collection of otters to be seen there
is the largest in the world.
The main aims of the Trust are to encourage the conservation of otters throughout the
world but with particular emphasis on our own British Otter.
It was in 1983 that the Otter Trust in co-operation with the Nature Conservancy Council
(now called English Nature) began its famous reintroduction programme in order to save the
otter from extinction in Eastern England and the Midlands. This programme was highly
successful and by 1999 the Trust had bred and released 120 otters. The return of the otter
to the lowlands of the Eastern half of England was entirely due to this project and as a
result, otters are now found in every river system.
The Otter Trust is concerned not only with the conservation of otters but with all wetland
and other wildlife. To this end it has purchased and manages five wildlife wetland
Membership of the Otter Trust is open to anyone and helps with our conservation work.
Members receive a free illustrated journal or annual report which contains articles
concerned with otters as well as a full account of the Trust's work. In addition they
receive occasional newsletters and free admission to all of the Trust's three Centres
which are open to visitors.
While otters are becoming more
common, seeing one in the wild is still a rare and special event and the Trust would be
delighted to receive details; news of cub sightings is particularly welcome. It is easy to
confuse otters, especially cubs, with mink and the Trust is able to help with
Apparently abandoned cubs are occasionally seen. A bitch otter only
carries one cub in her mouth at a time if changing holts so a solitary young cub should
not be disturbed and the mother will return to collect it. Only if a cub is still in the
same spot after about 1 hour should it be reported to the RSPCA which is developing a
rehabilitation strategy in conjunction with the Otter Trust (which has long experience in
rearing young orphans). When old enough, the cub will be returned to the wild in the area
where it was found.
Road traffic victims are becoming more common as otter numbers increase
and valuable information can be gleaned by the Environment Agency from an autopsy. Contact
the Environment Agency or the local Wildlife Trust and one of these can usually arrange to
collect the corpse. The corpse should not be frozen unless a delay in collection is