Recommended Reading: CUOP have just sent their summary for 2011 and their latest Newsletter. Fascinating Stuff; see the link for full details.
2011 was a heavy year for deaths in Somerset ; we sent in 35 0f the 179 otters they received, 19.5%. That the South-west otters showed the most evidence of fight damage, 26%, must be linked to this high total in some way. Though, happily, we had half the number of dead last year, 2012. Their research into the bile fluke first discovered in Somerset 9 years ago is drawing to a close; 2 reports are pending on this worrying parasite. The report on the use of scent marking by otters is now published, as is a paper on ticks. The veterinary side of things includes an ongoing high prevalence of kidney stones- (very painful in humans, but the otters are unable to complain), toxoplasmosis, which is relevant to human health, and the effects of various contaminants in the water, such as the possibility of male reproductive problems being associated with oestrogen’s, etc.
We must keep up our contribution to this important study, both by sending bodies, (8 of the 9 this year have been collected), and financially.