English Otters Back From Verge Of Extinction

For the past 40 years or more, the view of otters playing in England's rivers has been a rare treat. Now, at last, it seems the tide is turning in favor of the country's favorite water-dwelling animal, which has been brought back from the edge of extinction.

A report by the Environment Agency published reveals that numbers of the once subtle animal are at their highest for decades. Poisoned by toxic pesticides in rivers, the animals had roughly disappeared by the 1970s.

But an intensive effort to protect the otter, including legislation which made it an offence to deliberately kill or harm the animals, has brought about a dramatic resurgence. Every county in England, bar one, can now boast an otter population - and some are even getting maximum capacity.

The Environment Agency predicts that the species will recuperate fully in less than 20 years. An examination of 3327 river sites across the country between July last year and March showed a tenfold amplify in otter populations over the past 30 years.

Paul Raven, head of conservation and ecology at the Environment Agency, said: "Rivers in England are the healthiest for over 20 years, and otters, salmon and other wildlife are habitual for the first time since the Industrial Revolution."
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