A few weeks ago Bagshaw Ecology embarked on an unusual field activity, the rescue of an abandoned otter pup.
One of our ecologists noticed a post on the local Facebook group about the plight of the young otter and obviously all office work was subsequently abandoned as we rushed to the scene! The pup was located just around the corner from our office in Hebden bridge, a rare sight on the River Calder, and was calling in distress having lost his mother in fast flowing river following days of heavy rain.
Senior ecologist David decided the course of action was to wait and watch for the next few hours in case the mother returned and to offer some fish in the mean time to keep him going. So off we trotted to the local fish market which was luckily in town that day, leaving the local fish monger feeling extremely bemused his fresh trout was being offered to an otter.
Unfortunately, it was not to be, mother otter did not return for her pup and it was up to David to catch him ready for RSPCA collection. The otter (Fondly known as Smeagle thanks to his enthusiastic hissing) is now residing at Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre in Cheshire with two other abandoned otter pups. It is hoped they can be released on to the River Calder if a suitable site is found once they are old enough to fend for themselves.
Despite the unfortunate circumstances it was incredible for us as Bagshaw to get this close to a wild otter and we feel very privileged to have been able to come to his aid.
If you find an abandoned baby animal the advice, unless the animal is in imminent danger, is to always allow time for the mother to return to her young. If the animal is still in need after a significant amount of time contact the RSPCA or use their website to find your local wildlife rehabilitator.