The Mull Otter Group (MOG) is a fast-growing association of volunteer enthusiasts whose aim is to create positive awareness regarding the conservation needs of otters on the Isle of Mull. With over 300 miles of suitable coastal habitat, the island supports one of the highest densities of Eurasian otters in the United Kingdom and is one of the best places in Europe to see these much-sought-after yet often elusive animals.
To help Mull’s otters, MOG’s activities range from education and raising public awareness, to direct conservation work and scientific research.
MOG chair Jane Stevens explains:
“Mull Otter Group started about four years ago because I was concerned for the number of otters that were being run over on the island’s roads. So we formed a voluntary group to raise awareness of the otter.
“We have done this in a number of ways: proper road signs at hot spots for otter deaths (also at these hot spots we are trialling roadside reflectors which we hope will highlight to the otters that cars are oncoming); information boards at six different beaches around Mull; a leaflet with detailed information on otter watching, and contact numbers for anyone who finds injured or abandoned otter cubs (so far we have rescued three abandoned otter cubs, who then were transferred to a sanctuary until they are mature enough to release back into our seas); we go into schools and other venues to give talks about otters and our work, to help raise awareness and particularly to get the youngsters involved; and on a practical note we organise regular culvert cleans (the otters sometimes use culverts to cross roads) and beach cleans (to pick up plastic rubbish that otters will sometimes chew).
“So you can see that we are quite an active group — and so far we have funded everything ourselves, through various fundraising activities.”
MOG is currently undertaking a five-year otter sighting project to give an idea of how many otters there are on Mull, how many cubs are born, how many survive up to adulthood, when they hunt, what tide state they prefer etc — all of which will prove valuable for continued otter conservation on the island.
Learn about MOG’s work, how to become a member or make a donation, or record your otter sightings, at: Mull Otter Group, Gramercy, Tobermory, Isle of Mull PA75 6QA; 01688 302269; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.mullottergroup.co.uk