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Otter spotted for first time in Birmingham city centre canal
Plastic found in droppings raises new concerns for the wildlife trust.

Charity’s habitat restoration efforts see results

Otters have been sighted in the Birmingham city centre canal for what is believed to be the first time, during an event held by the Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust.

The sighting happened during the wildlife trust’s first Canal Safari and Expert Otter Talk, when customers taking part found an otter on footage taken from a camera positioned near Birmingham’s Mailbox shopping centre.

Officers had previously seen signs of otters along the canal. For two years they have collected droppings - known as ‘spraint’ - from around the area and distinctive otter footprints have been found.

Staff also spent months installing motion sensor cameras along the canal in order to monitor the otters.

Jacob Williams, engagement officer for Birmingham and the Black County Wildlife Trust said: “It’s hard to overstate how important this is. We’ve been setting cameras out for months, trying to catch a glimpse of the otters we know are here, we couldn’t believe it when one finally appeared on camera while we were doing an otter talk.”

Unfortunately, plastic found in spraint collected at the same time as the sighting raises new concerns for the trust over the pollution in the waterways.

Otters suffered a massive population decline between the 1950s and 70s, but have naturally begun to re-establish with the help of human efforts to improve their habitat.

Senior project officer, Tarun Ingvorsen added: “The return of otters to the city centre shows that they have adapted well to the urban environment and living unnoticed amongst humans.  We have to make sure the waterways are kept clean and healthy - not only free from rubbish but free from the pesticides and chemicals that poison water, the environment and destroy their food supply.”

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Cats Protection launches Christmas animation

News Story 1
 Leading feline charity Cats Protection has launched a heartwarming Christmas animation to raise awareness of the important work it does. The animation is based on a true story of a kitten that went missing earlier this year. Freezing cold and hungry, the kitten was dumped in a box on a roadside and somehow became separated from her brother and sisters.

Thankfully there is a happy end to this tail, and Libby - now named Misty - was eventually reunited with her littermates. Misty’s owner, Amy Smith, said: “Misty has settled amazingly well into our home, she has found a best friend in my daughter Lily and likes to follow her around the house. She also loves to chase bugs in the garden. We feel very lucky to have her.” 

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WSAVA launches certificate programme focusing on companion animals in One Health

The first certificate programme focusing specifically on the role of companion animals in One Health has been launched by the One Health Committee (OHC) of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA).

The online programme, which is free of charge for WSAVA members, has been developed in recognition of the growing impact of companion animals in human society. Pet ownership is becoming more popular globally, and this has increased the implications for One Health, regarding the human-companion animal bond. The WSAVA OHC hopes that this course will bridge the knowledge gap between veterinary surgeons and human physicians. New modules are being added weekly, with a total of 20 modules expected to be available by early 2020.