International Otter Survival Fund, Broadford, Isle of Skye, Scotland IV49 9AQ, telephone 0471 822487.
The International Otter Survival Fund was launched in November to conserve and protect otters, aquatic carnivores of the weasel family. Of the 13 species of otter in the world, the British native species - the Eurasian otter, or Lutra lutra - has fast declined in number during the last 50 years. Some 95 per cent of its traditional territory has been lost and many deaths are caused by cars, nets and illegal trapping. As otters are at the top of the aquatic food chain, they are sensitive to any form of disturbance, pollution or habitat destruction. Such sensitivity makes the otter a good indicator of the status of the environment. The IOSF aims to protect the remaining populations, to support research into otters and their conservation, plan public education programmes and help rehabilitate orphaned or injured animals.