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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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Big Butterfly Count returns

News Story 1
 The world's biggest survey of butterflies is back for 2020!

Butterfly Conservation's Big Butterfly Count launches on Friday, 17 July and will run until Sunday 9 August. Members of the public can get involved by downloading the Big Butterfly Count App or recording results on a downloadable sheet available from bigbutterflycount.org/.

'It's a fantastic activity for people from three to 103 years and we'd encourage everyone to take 15 minutes in an appropriate outdoor space during sunny conditions to simply appreciate the nature around them and do their bit to help us understand butterfly populations,' said a Butterfly Conservation spokesperson. 

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News Shorts
New appointment at Dechra

Dechra Veterinary Products Ltd (Dechra) has announced a key appointment to support veterinary professionals across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Karen Hockley has been appointed as a telesales account manager and will provide the latest products, news and developments from Dechra. She joins the company from a large mixed practice in Northern Ireland where she was the branch manager.

Before that, Karen had worked for a multinational veterinary pharmaceutical company as a key account manager for Northern Ireland. She can be contacted at karen.hockley@dechra.com or 087 219 54 30.