THE NATIONAL PARK has received many unusual sightings in response to its otter spotting appeal, but one intrepid animal has caused quite a stir in the village of Solva. Local resident Ella Black decided to set up a camera in her garden after around half of the fish in her pond went missing in a single night in September. The National Park Authority teamed up with Pembrokeshire Marine Special Area of Conservation (SAC) Officer Sue Burton in late 2013 to ask people to report coastal otter sightings for a county-wide research project.
Since then more than 130 sightings have been logged at Oriel y Parc Gallery and Visitor Centre in St Davids, with each sighting marked with a pin on a special map, showing how they are distributed around the Pembrokeshire Coast. National Park Authority Ranger Ian Meopham said: “We’ve received a number of sightings from people surfing, kayaking or swimming off the coast, but the photo and video evidence captured in Solva shows otters are also exploring the areas around the coast as they search for food.”
“The log book is still at Oriel y Parc so if you spot any evidence of an otter please let us know so we can continue to monitor the movements of these fascinating animals.” As otters are nocturnal, you are more likely to see them at dawn or dusk, although daytime sightings in the sea are not uncommon. The Park Authority also uses information about current sightings to advise outdoor activity providers about particularly sensitive areas of coastline, so they can avoid disturbing the otters and their habitat. The Park is asking that members of the public report otter sightings at Oriel y Parc (open daily, 10am- 4.30pm) or call Sue Burton on 01646 696108 or email SACofficer@ PembrokeshireMarineSAC.org.uk, giving the date, time and place where you spotted your otter.