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Otter alert - Natural Resources Wales

In order to help the otter population in Wales survive and flourish, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is asking people to spot and report dead otters as part of a UK-wide project.

(image: NRW)(image: NRW)

The Cardiff University Otter Project was set up in 1992 to autopsy dead otters, to map their genetic diversity, age and distribution across the UK, and to monitor pollution in rivers and streams

Information on otters is difficult to gather due to their elusive nature, however in order to support the species scientists need to build a picture of the health and spread of the native otter population. 

People are asked to report sightings of dead otters to NRW by calling 03000 65 3000. NRW will then collect the body and deliver it to the Otter Project for analysis.

Hannah Mitchell, NRW Conservation Officer said: “If you spot a dead otter, please stop and take a photo and then report it to NRW, giving us as much detail as possible about its location. The more detail we have about where the otter has been found, the better chance we have of finding and collecting it. When the university does an autopsy, they look at a variety of things including weight and length; sex, age, reproductive status; teeth - wear, breakages, or signs of infection; abnormalities of abdominal and other organs. Your effort in reporting a dead animal will help us to gather valuable information about this secretive species, which in turn will help our efforts to ensure their ongoing revival.”


Study finds a green solution in halving children’s pollutant exposure - University of Surrey

Simply planting a hedge in front of a park can halve the amount of traffic pollution that reaches children as they play, finds a new study by the University of Surrey.

In what is believed to be the first study of its kind, experts from Surrey’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) conducted a five-month continuous experiment, measuring traffic pollutants  with the use of emerging pollution sensing technology behind and in front of a hedge that shielded a children’s park in Guildford, United Kingdom.

The study aimed to measure any discernible difference in pollution reduction during the vegetation cycle of a Beech hedge – from dormancy to green-up to maturity.  

The results showed that a drop in pollution concentration levels behind the hedge was dominated by three factors – the weather, public holidays, and the stage of the hedge’s life cycle.

GCARE experts reported reductions of more than 50 per cent of the particulate matter after the hedge’s green-up stage in late April. Experts believe that this could be because the density of the hedge or the stickiness of the leaves had a sizable impact on particle pollutants passing through it. However, the results also revealed smaller reductions for gaseous pollutants including carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, and that wind direction had little impact on the concentration levels. 

Read the paper: Ottosen, T-B., Kumar, P., 2020.  The influence of the vegetation cycle on the mitigation of air pollution by a deciduous roadside hedge. Sustainable Cities & Society, 101919 doi.org/10.1016/j.scs.2019.101919


Scientific publications


Roxanne Leberger, Isabel M.D. Rosa, Carlos A. Guerra, Florian Wolf, Henrique M. Pereira, Global patterns of forest loss across IUCN categories of protected areas, Biological Conservation, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108299.


Smout, S, King, R, Pomeroy, P. Environment-sensitive mass changes influence breeding frequency in a capital breeding marine top predator. J Anim Ecol. 2019; 00: 1– 13. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.13128


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