21 November 2000
Cannibal otters ‘a good sign’

By FWi staff

CANNIBALISM among otters is being welcomed by wildlife experts as a sign that numbers are returning to natural levels, reports The Independent

A post mortem conducted on a male otter killed by a car in north Cornwall found that its stomach contained the tail and back paws of a cub.

This “incredibly exciting discovery” is a sign that the animals are battling for territory, according to Kate Stokes of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

Numbers dwindled from the 1950s due to hunting and the increased use of sheep dip, which polluted rivers, reports the newspaper.

But since 1970 the number of otter sites has increased three-fold.

Hunting was voluntarily stopped years ago and the animal given full protection in 1981.