Otters to be tempted back to the river Thames
Wednesday 24 March 1999
It is hoped that by improving the riverside habitat and water quality, the three-year, pounds 170,000 scheme will encourage the mammals to return to the river and its tributaries in Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.
Wild otters were last resident in the Thames region in the 1970s, before intensive agricultural pesticides and damage to their habitat led to their decline.
Signs of otters have been found in the area in recent years, suggesting that a small number of transient otters are seeking territories in the Thames region.
Local people will be involved in recovery efforts and in raising awareness of the plight of the otter.
Sir David said: "The otter is one of our most enchanting animals. Everyone will benefit if we succeed in this. It is a chance for us to put right some of the damage done to our wildlife."
Between the late 1950s and the 1970s otters were brought to the verge of extinction by a mixture of hunting, pollution and encroachment on their environment by expanding towns.
Contamination by agricultural pesticides and fertilisers was pinpointed as one of the main causes of the decline, causing fish stocks in rivers to dwindle and starving otters from their natural habitat.
Conservation efforts over the past 20 years have seen the British otter's fortunes restored, with numbers reaching 3,000. The Government has pledged to reintroduce the otter to all its pre-1960 habitats by 2010.
The scheme is part of the National Otter Biodiversity Action Plan, which was launched last summer.
- 2 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 3 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
- 4 Ryan Gosling posts tribute to 'Ryan Gosling Won't Eat His Cereal' creator Ryan McHenry
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
Garland shooting: Isis claims attack on Prophet Mohamed cartoon contest in Texas as its first action on US soil
Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian combined with near-naked ensemble
General Election 2015: Photographic history of Bullingdon Club tracked down - including new picture of David Cameron in his finery
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...
£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...
£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...