Extinct otter returns to Flanders

An otter’s been spotted in the Durme and Moervaart Valley in East Flanders.  The news is very welcome because otters are virtually extinct in the wild in Flanders.  Last December the animal was caught on camera on three individual occasions.  Otter excrement was also found.

The spotting of the otter in the vicinity of the River Durme, a tributary of the River Schelde, and the Moervaart waterway is also good news for the valley as a whole.  It is evidence that the local environment meets high quality standards.

Biologist Joris Everaert: “Otters only occur where there is a lot of fish, when water quality is good and when a waterway is calm.  It’s important to retain this calm because otters only occur in areas where humans fail to tread.

Joris Everaert: “Otters are shy by nature and avoid contact with humans.”

The otter has been seen as extinct in Flanders since the Eighties, but is now making a cautious return. It now needs to be seen whether the otter will breed.  Volunteers are examining the excrement to establish whether more than one otter is involved.

Joris Everaert: “We don’t know if it’s a male or female animal yet.  Once we know we can be on the look-out for a mate.