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Young otter found dead in Coaling Island

A dead European Otter was picked up by Environmental Protection officers in the area of Coaling Island last Saturday close to the Small Boats Marina Pier Master’s Office.

The animal was swiftly collected and transported to the Gibraltar Veterinary Clinic for a post-mortem examination the following day.

“The findings revealed that the animal had almost certainly been struck by a vehicle given that it had a fractured leg and significant internal haemorrhaging including a ruptured organ,” a statement from the Department of the Environment said.

“The animal was otherwise in good condition and will have been in good health.”

Otters are typically found in nearby rivers including the Palmones, Guadarranque and Guadiaro.

Otters can live in marine environments and they are also known to frequent ports and marinas in the Bay of Gibraltar and further up along both the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts.

The Department of the Environment has been monitoring otter sightings and activity for some time in Gibraltar following regular reports in the area of the Royal Gibraltar Yacht Club in particular.

Suspected otter activity has also been recorded along the east side at Sandy Bay.

“At least one otter has been in the port area for over four years,” the environment spokesperson said.

“This otter however was a young one, less than a year old, and thus clearly not the same one as in the earlier videos.”

“This raises questions as to the numbers of otters in the area and whether there is in fact a small resident population, possibly also making use of fresh water habitat in the ponds at Commonwealth Park.”

Minister for Environment Dr John Cortes said the death of this young otter was “very sad” and urged drivers to be vigilant of wildlife.

“Otters in our Port were unheard of just a few years ago,” Dr Cortes said.

“We have seen a great increase in the diversity of wildlife living in Gibraltar Port in recent years, including also Osprey, Grey Heron and Little Egret, which can only be a good sign as to the state of our waters.”

The Department of the Environment is presently conducting an investigation in an attempt to prevent any similar incidents from re-occurring in future and asks for anyone who may have witnessed the incident to come forward, the spokesperson said.

The public is kindly reminded that any sightings of marine wildlife in distress should be reported to the Environmental Protection and Research Unit on 58009620.

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