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Norwich volunteers urged to get involved in otter survey

Undated photo of  Belinda the otter, in Cholsey, Oxfordshire. Otters are returning to the land they were once driven from nearly 50 years ago, according to a report, Monday May 12, 2003. It shows that the area otters now live in has increased five fold  (527%) in the last 25 years. See PA story ENVIRONMENT Otters. PA Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth

Undated photo of Belinda the otter, in Cholsey, Oxfordshire. Otters are returning to the land they were once driven from nearly 50 years ago, according to a report, Monday May 12, 2003. It shows that the area otters now live in has increased five fold (527%) in the last 25 years. See PA story ENVIRONMENT Otters. PA Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth

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Volunteers in Norwich are being urged to take part in a survey to record the number and whereabouts of otters in the region - and then post their findings online.

Anglian Water funds a network of almost 50 voluntary RiverCare groups, including groups in Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Fakenham, and each is given support to adopt and look after a local stretch of river.

Run by the charity Keep Britain Tidy, the RiverCare scheme has created a small army of volunteers, which Anglian Water hopes can help it record where otters can be found in its region.

The ‘Otterly Fabulous Survey’ is being run through RiverCare’s new Facebook page, allowing volunteers to post their findings online.

All the information gathered will be shared with the region’s wildlife trusts and used to guide future conservation efforts.

Otters suffered huge declines 50 years ago due to pollution, habitat loss and poisoning owing to the widespread use of organochlorine pesticides. But they are now starting to make a comeback. Otters have been increasingly common in rivers around the Norwich area, and South Walsham even has a popular Otter Watch website which records sightings in the village.

Lisa Taylor, environmental performance scientist at Anglian Water, said: “We are all very excited at the thought of what this survey might show up.

“RiverCare has been running for more than 10 years now, but the Facebook page is a new development. We think it has the potential to bring all the RiverCare groups together, sharing their experiences.”

RiverCare’s Facebook pages can be found at www.facebook.com/RiverCare. More information about RiverCare can also be found at
www.rivercare.org.uk

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