Cambridgeshire

Orphaned baby otter in roadside rescue

The baby female otter Image copyright Fenland Animal Rescue
Image caption The baby female otter was "lifeless and unresponsive" when she was found at the side of the road

An "almost lifeless" baby otter was rescued from the side of a busy main road after being initially mistaken for a discarded "old mail sack".

Cyclist Robert Spooner spotted her in the dim light near Peterborough.

"I couldn't just leave it there," he said, so he carried the otter to his mother's house, who looked after it until rescue centre volunteers arrived.

They said the otter had made a "great recovery" but would not have survived in the wild without his help.

Mr Spooner said it took him a "few seconds" to realise what he had come across at the side of the road a few days before Christmas.

Image copyright Fenland Animal Rescue
Image caption The otter responded well to treatment and was able to go for a swim at the rescue centre

A passing motorist did not have time to help, but a pedestrian offered to push his bicycle while he scooped up the otter and carried it to his mother's house.

"She was a little surprised when I arrived with it," he said.

She called Fenland Animal Rescue and kept the otter hydrated, and warm in a box.

The otter was "lifeless and unresponsive" when it was first found, but "soon responded and recovered well", Joshua Flanagan, from rescue organisation, said.

He then had to find a new home for the creature.

Image copyright Fenland Animal Rescue
Image caption Otters are social creatures and ideally should be with others of a similar age

"Otter pups are entirely dependent on their mothers for the first year of their lives.

"Coupled with them being a social species, it is best that they are recovering in an environment with other otters of a similar age," he said.

After contacting sanctuaries across the country they eventually found a new home for the otter - more than 500 miles (800km) away on the Isle of Skye.

The International Otter Survival Fund has agreed to take her in.

Image copyright Fenland Animal Rescue
Image caption The otter pup is being transferred to a centre where there are otters of a similar age

But transferring her there has not been simple for the volunteers.

So far they have managed to get her to a "half-way house" near Manchester.

She will then be driven to the Scottish border where she will be handed over to a member of the otter charity for the final leg to the Isle of Skye.

"When she is of age and independent, she will be released back into the wild in a suitable area," Mr Flanagan added.

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