The changing otter population of Britain 1700–1989

The changing otter population of Britain 1700–1989 Otters Lutra lutra were persecuted increasingly in Britain for fishery protection and for sport throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. There are indications of a population recovery occurring during the 1914–1918 war with the temporary cessation of hunting and keepering. Intensive otter hunting with packs of hounds throughout the 1920s and 1930s appears to have stressed the population by altering the age structure. A catastrophic decline occurring simultaneously over England, Wales and southern Scotland, but most severe in the south‐east and starting in 1957–1958, appears to have been triggered in this stressed population by a single new factor, pollution of the rivers by organochlorine insecticides. The trough in the decline may have occurred around 1977— 1979. The first signs of rivers being re‐occupied by otters have been seen by the early 1980s and partial recovery seems possible with legal protection and improved water quality. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biological Journal of the Linnean Society Oxford University Press

The changing otter population of Britain 1700–1989

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Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 1989 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0024-4066
eISSN
1095-8312
D.O.I.
10.1111/j.1095-8312.1989.tb01563.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Otters Lutra lutra were persecuted increasingly in Britain for fishery protection and for sport throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. There are indications of a population recovery occurring during the 1914–1918 war with the temporary cessation of hunting and keepering. Intensive otter hunting with packs of hounds throughout the 1920s and 1930s appears to have stressed the population by altering the age structure. A catastrophic decline occurring simultaneously over England, Wales and southern Scotland, but most severe in the south‐east and starting in 1957–1958, appears to have been triggered in this stressed population by a single new factor, pollution of the rivers by organochlorine insecticides. The trough in the decline may have occurred around 1977— 1979. The first signs of rivers being re‐occupied by otters have been seen by the early 1980s and partial recovery seems possible with legal protection and improved water quality.

Journal

Biological Journal of the Linnean SocietyOxford University Press

Published: Sep 1, 1989

References

  • The decline of the otter Lutra lutra L. in Britain: an analysis of hunting records and discussion of causes.
    CHANIN, CHANIN; JEFFERIES, JEFFERIES
  • Causes of badger mortality in eastern counties of England.
    JEFFERIES, JEFFERIES

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