Otter family moves in to River Wharfe

A creature once commonplace in rivers around the country has been photographed at home in the River Wharfe in Wetherby.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 1:26 pm

A family of otters - two adults and two kittens - has been regularly seen in the river for the past six months.

Photographer of 35 years, Phill Andrews, of Wetherby, has sent in his photographs of the otters.

Phill, who has pictured motorsport, horse racing and wildlife during his career, said: “You can see them at all times of day but it is a patience thing.

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“It’s a great feeling when you get to capture moments like the otters and the other wildlife around Wetherby.

“It’s great to see the otters back in the river after all the reports about pollution. The otter return means it must be getting better.”

Phill added that the otter he pictured is the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) which is a large member of the weasel family that can reach nearly a metre in length and weigh up to 12 kilograms.

“It is the only wild otter species found in the UK,” he said.

Environmental film maker Mark Barrows of Beneath British Waters says that he has known of otters in the Wharfe at Wetherby for as long as he can remember.

Mark, who is campaigning for improved water quality in the Wharfe, said: “It may appear they are not effected too much by water quality.

“Sadly the River Wharfe, in areas, is a shadow of its former self and it is imperitive that the river is restored to how nature intended.”