Otters – Threats

Building development, industrial activity and agriculture can all have an adverse effect on the otter’s habitat.

Pollution is still a problem in some parts of the country: a threat to otters and the fish for which they depend upon for their food.


Photo: Colin Varndell

Road traffic is a major threat to expanding otter populations. This often occurs around road bridges (particularly if the water flow is fast) where they may choose to cross the road rather than stay in the water. Engineering solutions are sometimes possible. Traffic is also a problem on watersheds where the otter leaves the relative safety of a source stream to cross dry land to another catchment area; this is, of course, exactly where our ancestors chose to develop tracks which we have developed into highways.

Disturbance from mink hunting is potentially damaging where otters remain in isolated populations.