Rise in otter deaths in Dorset

Rise in otter deaths in Dorset

Published by Maria Greenwood at 10:12am 26th November 2019.

Heavy rain is being blamed for an increase in the numbers of otters dying in Dorset.

Otters are resorting to travelling across roads after heavy rainfall and rising water levels has stopped them swimming under bridges.

Small ditches and streams are also holding more water, enabling otters to move through the landscape more easily, bringing them into increased contact with roads in Dorset. 

The nocturnal creatures are regularly seen on the river Stour, and are a protected species. 


Dorset Wildlife Trust Living Landscape Manager, Amanda Broom said:

"After almost disappearing from England in the 1970s otters have made a gradual recovery.  

"In Dorset we are fortunate to have a wonderful network of rivers which support this beautiful enigmatic creature.  

"Dorset Wild Rivers, a Wessex Water funded partnership project, enables us to work with farmers, landowners and fishing clubs to look after and further improve the health of rivers so that they can continue to support otters and other wildlife."

otter crossing

'What should I do if I find an otter in the road?'

Dorset Police and Dorset Wildlife Trust say if you spot an otter in the road you must consider the safety of others before you stop.

Avoid stopping on dangerous bends in the dark and consider your own safety, as well as that of others. 

  • If an injured otter is found in the road, contact Dorset Police if causing a hazard to drivers.
  • If there is no hazard, then you should call the Environment Agency on 03708 506506 who will advise on what to do with the carcass.
  • If medical assistance is needed for an injured otter, please phone the RSPCA National Emergency number 0300 1234 9999.