A family of otters has been caught on film near Huntly as part of a project to highlight Scotland’s rich array of wildlife.
And the popular, if reclusive, marine creatures can be seen foraging for food, with a mother tending to a pair of young juveniles throughout their early adventures.
The Scottish Invasive Species Initiative is a four-year £3.34 million partnership between Scottish National Heritage, Aberdeen University and various fishery boards and trusts.
Together they have launched a new monthly Wildlife Watcher feature, designed to showcase some of the wonderful wildlife which can be witnessed around Scotland’s rivers and burns.
The venture uses wildlife cameras at riverside locations to help detect the presence of the invasive non-native American mink, which are subsequently controlled.
But the cameras have also been capturing a range of other, often secretive, native animals as they go about their daily and nightly business.
The scheme’s project manager, Callum Sinclair, was delighted at the footage which has now been made available to the public.
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He said: “We want to celebrate Scotland’s stunning wildlife and raise awareness of the special nature of these river habitats and importance of conserving them.
“Many of us may never be lucky enough to see some of the more secretive wildlife that visits our rivers, so we wanted to share these videos for all to watch and enjoy.”
“Everyone can follow the Wildlife Watcher feature which will appear every month on our website and social media channels.
“We will be featuring a different animal each month throughout the year. As we hope to feature contributed clips, we would encourage people to share their videos with us via social media.”
Al Reeve, the project officer with the Deveron, Bogie & Isla Rivers Charitable Trust, who set up the camera on a tributary burn of the River Bogie, was equally thrilled with the unexpected results.
He said: “When we downloaded the video in the office we were delighted – it was such a surprise to see that we had not just an adult otter, but two juveniles as well.
“They are quite shy creatures and most river otters are largely nocturnal, so not many people get to see a family of otters such as this together.”
You can watch the film at www.invasivespecies.scot/wildlife-watcher.