Otterly good news for Rhuddlan nature reserve


Stephanie Price

A WILDLIFE haven has had some ‘otterly’ good news with one of the UK’s and fastest declining mammal species making its home there.

Efforts to breathe new life into an overgrown pond at Rhuddlan Nature Reserve and to attract new wildlife has paid off with the appearance of the Eurasian otter.

The Eurasian otter was widespread throughout Wales and the UK up until the 1950s but a serious decline followed and in the late 1970s the species was completely absent from many regions, with only a small population surviving in Wales.

The otter relies on a healthy mix of terrestrial and aquatic habitat and it would appear this is what it has found at the recently designated Rhuddlan reserve.

The otter has been caught on camera at the location by a local photographer, although their numbers are not known.

Cllr David Smith, Denbighshire Council’s cabinet lead member for environment, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the conservation work has paid dividends.

”In early 2016 a decision was made to reinstate a derelict and overgrown pond on the reserve and to ensure a good mix of marginal vegetation and open water.

“Specialist equipment was brought in to clear the pond from most of the overgrown vegetation.

“Striking the right balance is sometimes difficult but we have achieved it here and our efforts have been rewarded with regular sightings of one of the UK’s most iconic species.

“We wanted to create a haven for wildlife and the before and after photograph demonstrates the amount of work that has gone on to make this happen.

“The proof is in the pudding and to capture an otter on camera at the location shows that the hard work has paid off.

“None of this could have been possible without the hard work of Denbighshire countryside service staff and volunteers, as well as the tremendous support from the management advisory group and its chair, Anita Fagan, local councillors and staff.

“They have all worked together to transform the nature reserve and to see a mammal that is declining across the UK making its home here is great from a wildlife and conservation perspective”.

Ms Fagan said: “The group is delighted not only with this sighting but how the reserve has developed overall.

“It is a great example of how the local community and volunteers, local councillors, the town council, Natural Resources Wales and with grant aid from Welsh Government can all work together in a positive way to massively improve their local environment.”

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