The Somerset Otter Group (SOG) in its current form commenced in 1995 when James Williams became chairman of a small group of otter surveyors. The first Newslotter was written by James in 1997.
This page will host all the SOG Newslotters, they are in the process of being added from 1997 onwards. James referred to their content as Otter Gossip.
You will see all the initial Newslotters show the group title as Somerset Wildlife Trust Otter Group, hence the need for an explanation here. The group is no longer any part of the Somerset Wildlife Trust (SWT) and all support from the Trust ceased many years ago as it distanced itself from all its Specialist Groups.
The Somerset Otter Group is an independent group, a loose association of Otter Surveyors.
The group obviously works with the SWT upon shared aims, in the same way it does with other organisations. Its closest partner is the Somerset Environmental Records Centre, SERC, through which it shares all the survey data the Somerset Otter Group acquires.
The misconception that the Somerset Otter Group and other Specialist Groups are supported by the SWT is becoming hard to correct. At a meeting with Specialised groups within Somerset in 2016, it was deemed necessary for the relationship to be clarified for all groups. Below is a paragraph from Simon Nash CEO of the SWT.
Clarification of groups relationship with SWT by Simon Nash
SWT recognises that several of the specialist groups originally arose from within the Trust and that there are strong and productive historical links between the two. Some Specialist Groups refer to a formal relationship with the Trust in their own constitutions. However, despite their origins, there has never been any legal affiliation between the Trust and any of the specialist groups, the relationship having always relied on mutual goodwill and the obvious benefits to wildlife that flow from that. In the decades since their inception the groups have grown and diversified enormously so that while the goodwill remains, the Trust cannot be held responsible for the specialist groups as they largely work autonomously and often the Trust would be unaware of exactly what, or whom, it is assuming responsibility for.
Here are the Newslotters-