Otters are coming to Grantham

Otter expert Stewart West
Otter expert Stewart West
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Otters are returning to South Kesteven waterways, with sightings in and around Grantham.

The mammals almost died out in Lincolnshire due to the use of certain pesticides in the 1950s and 1960s, but following bans on their use, populations have “bounced back.”

Lincolnshire otter expert Stewart West will be giving a talk on their revival tonight ( Friday).

The 7.30pm meeting in Barkston and Syston Village Hall will also look at where they live, threats to their lifestyle, plus how to watch and track otters.

Mr West, who is also a vice principal of Toll Bar Academy school, Grimsby, said the otter populations suffered most from the pesticide use in lowland agricultural areas and these chemicals affected their breeding.

The past 20 years have seen otters being introduced by the UK Wild Otter Trust to parts of Humberside and rural areas between Grantham and Cambridge.

The mammals are largely nocturnal, but their growing populations mean people have increasing chances of spotting them.

John Knowles, leader of the Grantham Rivercare team, also credits his volunteers as helping the revival, with their cleanups of local waterways that have taken place over the past 13 years.

Mr Knowles said he had yet to see otters in Gratham but he knows there are some in the grounds of Belton House and otters have also been seen around Bridge End Road.

He said: “It’s smashing, It’s so exciting. It shows the water quality is good. It’s nice habitat for the fish, trout and freshwater crayfish. We are so lucky to have them so close to the town centre.”

Grantham resident Konrad Emery Ford, who lives near Swallow Mill, said: “I can confirm the otter sightings. We live alongside the river just up from the Mill and a pair of otters have been spotted regularly by a neighbour since early summer.”

John Chadwick, chairman of the Grantham Area of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, also confirmed: “Certainly there are otters in the Grantham area. I have heard reports of them being to the south of the town so somehow they got through the town through Swallow Mill.”

Mr Chadwick had also yet to see one locally saying they are secretive creatures.

He fears that if too much is known about exactly where the otters live, “people would start to look for them and frighten them away.”