When was the last time you spotted an otter on your local river bank? Surprisingly enough the playful otter was once abundant throughout England but due to habitat loss and pollution from pesticides, the otter population has been in sharp decline since the late 1950s.
If you want to help improve this situation, then Earthwatch, the international environmental organisation, needs people power. There is a conservation field research project taking place on your doorstep, and we are looking for volunteers to help ensure that Britain's wildlife is preserved in the face of constant human pressure.
Only in the last few years have otters started to return to the Thames, and yet their future remains uncertain as local fisheries continue to object to the conservation initiative.
Earthwatch's Bringing Back the Otter project is dedicated to ensuring the recovery of the species, while at the same time our ongoing research is assessing the impact that the otters will have upon still water fisheries, with the objective of resolving this conflict and easing local tensions.
Earthwatch is looking for volunteers with three days to spare who are willing to get stuck in. As a volunteer you will join Earthwatch scientists in a search for otters along the river banks of Wiltshire in an effort to chart their recovery. To speed this process you and your team will help to build an artificial otter holt (den).
Using field techniques you will also learn to access the feeding preferences of the returning otter. All of the research that you carry out will contribute directly to assessing the health of England's wetlands and waterways.
Past volunteer, Nicole Charriere says, 'The construction of the otter holt was very interesting and hugely gratifying; our team learnt a lot about the local habitat and field research and felt that we were contributing valuably towards the project and the conservation aims in the local community'
There is a small charge of £155 to join the project, and in return Earthwatch can offer you accommodation, breakfast, lunch, new skills and a rewarding and team building weekend. Anyone who can swim is welcome to join in and no experience is necessary.
To find out more about dates and prices, visit www.earthwatch.org/europe or call + 44 (0) 1865 318838.
For press information, images and interviews contact:
Zoe Gamble, Press Officer + 44 (0) 1865 318806/ firstname.lastname@example.org