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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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Face covering rules expanded

News Story 1
 New rules came into force in England on Saturday (8 August) making it mandatory for clients to wear a face covering in veterinary practices.

The rules, which also apply to cinemas, museums and places of worship, follow a recent spike in coronavirus cases. All clients in England must now wear a face covering when inside a veterinary practice unless they are exempt for age, health or equality reasons. 

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News Shorts
BSAVA webinars to shine the spotlight on selected journal papers

A free series of webinars that take a closer look at selected papers published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice has been produced by the BSAVA.

In the new BSAVA Science webinar series, authors of the featured papers discuss their results with a panel and how they may impact clinical practice. The authors then answer questions submitted by audience members.

The webinars are available via the BSAVA Webinar Library, covering four different papers. JSAP editor Nicola Di Girolamo, said: "Discussing the research with the authors - experts in their field - really helps to bring the papers to life."