Usually when I spot an otter (which is quite rare but does happen) I don't have a camera with me or it is too far for a good shot (at last with my camera). Yesterday I had a very sad sighting, with the opportunity for a close up: a dead on at Leob. I was strolling down to the beach through some wild hazel forests- a track I never took before, and found it stretched out on its track (one can tell otter tracks) between the water and uphill to a sheltered places more inland.
Today Nigel from the "Isle of Mull Otter Group" came to observe it. Somehow a young female, about a year old, beautiful healthy-looking teeth, slightly skinny but otherwise healthy looking. It looked as if it has climbing up the bank, just being exhausted. Quite sad really. Nigel said, he used to find Otters aged 10 or older. Nowadays it seems Otters don’t get older than 5. About 15 (for the whole of Mull) he gets reported to collect- most of them being road kill. Their main (and only) enemy are cars. The one I found he took with him to send to Cardiff University. They`ll look at it closely. They usually find quite a high concentration of cadmium and other not very healthy metals in them. These and other poisonous substances add up in Otters through the food chain. It’s not proven that cadmium causes the high mortality of them. But for a long time (in the 60s, 70s), where Otters in England almost went extinct, it was "not proven" that certain pesticides kill them. Our clean water of Scotland is not that clean after all. The "Year of the Water" (officially happening in Scotland this year) should seriously be used to rethink water policy. On Mull (as in most of the Hebrides) almost all waste water goes straight into the sea. Locals dedicatedly do beach cleans (to remove plastic washed ashore our beautiful beaches) but then go home and use cheap washing powder with micro plastics and other poisons in it to wash their sweaty functional body-ware consisting of 100% artificial oil based fibers who slowly disintegrate into the water and such into our oceans ending up in the Oysters, the Crabs and Lobsters and finally in the Otters that they so much love.