Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary launches otter watch after signs they may be in the River Sid

AN otter watch was launched in Sidmouth today, Thursday, by Sidmouth International Donkey Sanctuary in response to signs there may be otters in the River Sid at the charity’s Paccombe Farm.

Otter-shaped paw prints and half-eaten eels left on the banks of the river at the farm have led the international animal welfare charity to believe this wildlife haven, which has also seen barn owls nesting in purpose built bird boxes on site, is now also home to a family of otters.

Staff will now be keeping a close eye out for further signs of these elusive animals.

Annie Brown, the sanctuary’s general farms manager, said: “It is great to hear that otters have now been spotted in every county in England, fantastic news for a species that until recently was considered close to extinction.

“Paccombe Farm near Sidmouth occupies 93 acres of woodland and a further 81 of fields and grassland which the River Sid runs through.

“It is very exciting that otters appear to be taking up residence there, and we will be keeping watch for further signs of them and hopefully a sighting or two in the not too distant future.”

Otters are no stranger to Donkey Sanctuary land and in 2007 they returned to the River Axe at its East Axnoller farm near Beaminster, Dorset, after many years of absence.

Annie added: “We strive to provide an environment in which both our donkeys and wildlife can thrive, and it is so encouraging to see endangered species like otters calling our farms home.”