World Otter Day
Today is the World Otter Day!
The International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF) started Otterly Mad Week in 2009, and in 2014 this was changed to World Otter Day. IOSF is one of the world's leading otter charities. In the United Kingdom IOSF is the only charity solely dedicated to the conservation, protection and care of otters based on over 20 years of scientific research in the UK and around the world.
IOSF has an otter rehab and release centre on the Isle of Skye. So far they have cared for over 200 orphaned and injured otters. Eurasian otter, which is the species found all across Europe, cubs stay with their mothers for 12-15 months and therefore must stay within IOSF care for the same period of time. Each otter costs around £1,600 to rear which includes electricity, heating, bedding and, mostly, feed. Once they deem the otters ready for release they try, wherever possible, to release them back to where they came from but if not possible the staff will find a suitable spot to ensure they have the best chance of survival. This year the wonderful staff from the IOSF wrote to us to give fascinating insights to some of the lovely otters staying with them at the moment. Read below about Otto, Harrie, Sparky and Bealltainn.
Otto napping and staying warm.
Otto is a male and was found alone and stranded on the banks of the fast-flowing River Crask near Inverness when he was about 12 weeks old. After watching for a short while to see if the mother returned, it was clear that she wouldn't. and therefore it was clear that he needed some help. He is nicknamed "Otto von Crask" as he came from the river Crask. Otto is particularly feisty, which is exactly what we want for him when he is released. Otto shares his time at IOSF with Harrie.
Otto and Harrie are now roommates.
Harrie was found in a garden near the River Irt in Cumbria. She was about 10 weeks old and was taken to West Lakeland Vets due to being cold, thin and dehydrated. At first, things did not look promising for Harrie, but under the expert care of the vets, she started to improve and add "fish smoothie". Harrie is progressing well and is particularly fond of the Octopus that is donated to us by local fishermen. She is very shy compared to her "room-mate" Otto, who is a little more confident.
Sparky is a young male that was found near someone's house in Arisaig on the west coast of Scotland. Sparky by name, sparky by nature - he is not an individual of friendliness, and most feedings are met with hostility. On arrival at IOSF, he was quickly eating small chunks of salmon and is now happily eating 2/3 fish per day and growing well. He is shy and retiring and doesn't often appear.
Sparky after moving house.
Bealltainn is the newest member to come in to IOSF care after she was found on the Isle of Mull in May. She was very thin when she arrived in our care but is quickly growing and becoming more independent. She has quite recently come into our care so currently occupies a smaller pen for closer monitoring.
Bealltainn enjoying a tasty fish.
If you would want to see otters in the wild, IOSF also runs otter watching days on the beautiful Isle of Skye. Join one of IOSF's otter experts on an exciting day, and learn more about tracking and signs in search of the elusive Eurasian otter. All the profits from the otter watching days go towards the work of IOSF. Amongst other brilliant prizes, you can win otter watching day by taking part in IOSF's raffle!
If you don't have time to go to see the otters, but would like to help the great cause, you can adopt an otter or donate here.
Bealltainn all settled in.
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