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Otter conservationists rescue cub near their home in Lochalsh

The otter cub was discovered by Paul and Grace Yoxon of the International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF)
The otter cub was discovered by Paul and Grace Yoxon of the International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF)

They have been involved in otter conservation for years, rescuing more than 200 in the UK alone.

But the husband-and-wife team behind the International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF) had a first recently, when they personally saved a cub near their Skye home.

The otter cub was found abandoned in a remote location in Lochalsh sparking a mystery as to how it found itself in the area.

Paul and Grace Yoxon discovered the abandoned cub while out walking their dog near Plockton.

Mr Yoxon, who is head of operations at the Broadford-based IOSF, and Mrs Yoxon came across the creature after hearing its high-pitched peeping on Sunday afternoon.

Mrs Yoxon said: “We were swithering between two different walks and decided to go that way which I guess we were supposed to do. We heard this loud noise which is quite identifiable as being an otter.

“We went round to see what was going on. We checked to see if the mother was around but she wasn’t, and there was no hold, so we weren’t sure whether to leave the cub or not. It turns out it hadn’t eaten for ages so must have lost mum a while back.


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“We usually advise people not to pick up otters and to call us for help. As the dark was approaching we thought it was best to pick it up.

“That made it scream even more but we emptied our rucksack and put it in and it immediately settled down quietly.

“I have no idea how it got there.”

The tiny otter cub was taken back to the conservationist’s base in Broadford, with a stop en route to pick up salmon for feeding to the cub.

Mrs Yoxon added: “The cub is feeding well and is very active. I was feeding by hand yesterday and left a bowl in last night and she had eaten the lot.

“Cubs usually stay with their mothers for around a year to 15 months and we believe this cub is around eight weeks old, so born in October. We anticipate we will be looking after the cub until next October.

“We have cared for over 200 otters from all over the country and southern Ireland but this is the first one we have found ourselves which is really quite something.

“We have been back today to see if there are any signs of a sibling or a holt but we haven’t been able to find anything.”

The cub weighed in at less than a kilo with Mrs Yoxon offering advice to anybody who may come across otters they believe are in danger.

She added: “I would advise people to phone us immediately on 01471 822 487.

“Otters can bite and we don’t want people to get bitten. Also with them being so small, they don’t know they are being helped.”

 

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