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Wild otter discovered at Longleat Safari Park

Posted on 09th November 2012

Longleat Safari and Adventure Park is one of the most popular attractions enjoyed by those on Wiltshire cottage holidays, with many tourists flocking to the area specifically to visit the park. The staff at the attraction have been incredibly excited this week thanks to a special wildlife sighting in their grounds, but it isn’t a new lion, tiger or baboon.


The elusive wild British otter has been seen close to a stream which courses through the estate, and after reports of sightings and little footprints alongside the edge of the water, staff decided to investigate this further.

Otters may be native to the UK but at one time they became an incredibly rare sight due to the use of chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides and loss of habitat, particularly in the 1980s. The species is now recovering, but sightings of the wild mammal still excite nature enthusiasts everywhere.

Jon Cracknell, director of animal operations at Longleat, even managed to get some photos of the visiting otter playing in the water, describing it as a “privilege” to see the elusive animal using the safari park’s waterways.

Keepers at Longleat plan to set up a number of camera traps in the hope of catching more photos of the otter navigating the stream, and to examine its behaviour without the presence of humans. There is even the potential for a whole family of otters to have established themselves at Longleat if the current otter happens to bring some others with him after scouting out the stream.

Although this is a great find for Longleat Safari and Adventure Park, the Wiltshire countryside is already teeming with beautiful natural scenery and wildlife. There are plenty of holiday cottages in Wiltshire that offer visitors to the area the chance to surround themselves with the peace and quiet of nature, but for guaranteed animal fun there Longleat is clearly the place to be.

Image Credit: mape_s (flickr.com)