Otter spotted in Birmingham city centre canal 'for first time'

media captionVideo of otter

Otters have been spotted in a city centre canal for what is believed by experts to be the first time.

The elusive mammals were caught on camera near Birmingham's Mailbox shopping centre in November.

Jacob Williams, from Birmingham and the Black Country Wildlife Trust, said it was "hard to overstate" the importance of the sighting.

However the trust raised concerns about pollution in the waterways as plastic was found in the otters' droppings.

image captionThe otter was caught on camera near The Mailbox in Birmingham

For two years, the trust has recorded signs of otters in the local area - they leave strong smelling droppings known as "spaints" to mark their territory and their distinctive footprints have also been seen.

Officers spent months installing and monitoring motion sensor cameras along the canal where droppings and footprints had been found.

Mr Williams said he "couldn't believe it when one finally appeared on camera".

The wildlife trust said otters have been sighted in Birmingham and the Black Country since 2000 when they were first seen in the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal.

However they said this is the first time they have been seen in the city centre.

The sighting "shows they have adapted well to the urban environment and living unnoticed amongst humans," according to Tarun Ingvorsen from the trust.

"We have to make sure the waterways are kept clean and healthy," he added, particularly regarding plastic in the canal which the trust said was "as big a concern in out local towns and cities as our oceans".

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