13 Dec 2016

Otterly great news

Bruce Langridge

After many years of trying, we have our first photo and film of an otter here in the Garden.

The star photographer was John James even though he wasn’t actually there when the otter appeared.

John is a member of our Tuesday conservation volunteers and has a reputation for being a bit of an Inspector Gadget, someone who loves to try out new bits of technology to uncover the mysteries of the natural world. Over the past few years John and fellow volunteer Colin Miles have been setting night time cameras to capture the nocturnal secretive world of the Garden’s wildlife. Colin’s camera has previously filmed a polecat with a frog in its mouth whilst John has captured great video footage of badgers, foxes and field mice in Pont Felin Gat.

We knew we had otters here because another Tuesday volunteer, Jan Crowden, has regularly identified otter spraint next to our lakes, and it was Jan who found otter holts here in the 1990s.

A few people had also seen otters here over the past few years but like the Loch Ness Monster, we had no photographic evidence.

Following the Tuesday group’s observation of fresh otter spraint near the bridge that takes you onto Waun Las NNR, John set the camera up here a couple of weeks ago. Finally, his patience has paid off.

Jan says this is a young female otter, and our buggy driver Jack saw an adult and young otter last week. So next time you’re in the Garden, keep a sharp eye on the lakes.

You might be lucky enough to see one of Wales’ most fascinating wild creatures.