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News article created on 6 October 2014

Otter caught on camera in Garstang marina

The arrival of an otter in Garstang marina on the Lancaster Canal has been warmly welcomed. One of Britain’s rarest mammals was spotted by local resident and boat owner Lesley Packwood, who even managed to capture the animal on camera.

Becki Anderson, senior ecologist for the Canal & River Trust said: “This is fantastic news. Otters thrive in clean water and this is an endorsement of the water quality of the Lancaster Canal. Otters have been seen on the Glasson Dock spur of the canal, but this is the first time we have seen one on this stretch. This is really quite an exciting development. It may have come across from the River Wyre in search of food, but from the photographs I have seen, this otter was certainly making himself at home, having a good scratch on the landing stage.”

Lancaster Canal

Garstang Marina is a family owned and operated business, set up in 1995 the business has developed and now has moorings for 270 boats.

Lesley Packwood, who has a boat moored in the marina, said: “The marina at Garstang is really quite busy so I was astounded when I saw this otter playing on one of the landing stages. I was able to get quite close and take some photographs. Although it is the first time I have seen an otter anywhere in the wild, I have heard several other boaters say they have seen one on the Lancaster Canal but I have always been a bit of a doubting Thomas. It is fantastic to know we have otters about once again, who knows what's next? Otters are normally timid and not often observed by humans, but this one certainly was not camera shy. ”

The Otter was nearly wiped out during the 20th century through a combination of pesticide poisoning, persecution and habitat destruction. Luckily, they are now on the increase again thanks to the cleaning up of our rivers and waterways and the banning of harmful pesticides, and numerous conservation projects across the country to provide suitable habitat for them.