CHARITY CELEBRATES 25 YEARS OF CARING FOR OTTERS
16 November marks the beginning of celebrations by the International Otter Survival Fund as it enters its 25th year of caring for otters worldwide.
During this time it has supported projects in 60 countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Philippines, Belarus, Chile, Lithuania, Nepal, Benin and Costa Rica. In the charity’s own otter hospital nearly 200 otters have been treated and help has been given to people caring for animals in 33 countries. .
Training workshops have been held in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Tanzania and China and next year is scheduled for a workshop in Laos. As a result otter networks have been set up throughout Asia and Africa ,where ongoing research and education is now being led by trainees.
IOSF also initiated the World Otter Day which is held on the last Wednesday in May each year – last year people in at least 30 countries took part to raise awareness of otters and their importance to the environment.
The conservation of otters is not a sentimental luxury. They are at the top of the food chain and use both the water and land and so both habitats have to be in pristine condition. This is essential for all species, including man.
Education is vital. 12 of the 13 species of otter are declining worldwide, including the Eurasian otter, native to the UK. Otters are at the forefront of the illegal wildlife trade together with tigers and leopards and in parts of Asia they are now only resident in protected areas and are locally extinct. In just one incident 778 otter skins were confiscated in Tibet (picture below).
IOSF is launching its special Silver Anniversary project to raise funds to completely renovate the hospital facilities at the headquarters on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. This will provide specialist facilities created out of the years of experience caring for the rescue and rehabilitation of otters.
Dr Paul Yoxon said “caring for the individual otter and holding it in your hands focusses your mind on the bigger picture of the threats to otters from pollution, loss of habitat and hunting. Today more than ever otters need our help and we will never let them down.”
IOSF has never been in better shape to make the next 25 years even more positive with its small passionate team at headquarters and the worldwide network of hardworking otter conservationists.
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