U.K. Otters Come Back from Near-extinction

LONDON, Oct. 19 (UPI) — Britain’s otters, nearly wiped out by pollution in the country’s rivers three decades ago, have made a remarkable comeback, the U.K. Environment Agency says.

In the 1970s, pesticides routinely used at the time took otter numbers to near-extinction levels and the creatures almost disappeared in England, the BBC reported Tuesday.

Many of those chemical have since been banned and otters are once again being seen in rivers across the country, wildlife officials say.

In many rivers in the southwest of Britain, otters are at maximum population levels, limited not by pollution but by their own territorial behavior.

Conservationists say this is encouraging news for all wildlife.

“The otter is at the top of the food chain, and as such is an important indicator of the health of English rivers,” Paul Raven, head of conservation and ecology at the Environment Agency, said.

“The recovery of otters from near-extinction shows how far we’ve come in controlling pollution and improving water quality,” he said.

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