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Warwickshire Country Park Rangers respond to anglers’ otter concerns

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The team at Kingsbury Water Park are aware of concerns from anglers after a number of fish carcasses have been found, believed to have been killed by otters.

Maintaining and protecting all species of wildlife, their habitats, and the vital ecosystems found within our parks is central to the work of the Warwickshire County Council's Country Parks team.

Otters are a natural and valuable part of UK wildlife. Their numbers are recovering nationally since the banning of certain harmful pesticides in 1984 but otters and their holts still have full legal protection under both European and British law. It is illegal to ‘capture, kill, disturb or injure otters’, and to ‘obstruct’, ‘damage’ or ‘destroy’ ‘breeding or resting places’. Those found guilty of this offence can get up to six months in prison and an unlimited fine.

There have been otters present in the Tame valley since the 1980s. Otters have very large territories spanning thirty to forty kilometres on rivers, and they will travel up to twenty kilometres at night. They mark their territories with ‘spraints’, which are essentially a warning to other otters. We have found ‘sprainting’ points around the quieter areas of Kingsbury Water Park for over forty years.

Otters prefer to hunt in narrow and shallow streams and rivers, rather than large rivers and lakes. With the amount and type of rainfall we now get, rivers in winter are very high and this can temporarily displace otters deeper within the park.

This winter, we have encountered what looks like otters feeding on the carp in Pine Pool, and anglers have captured some pictures of carp carcasses. Fish predation is an ongoing issue within angling, and it is not uncommon on site. Fish die from many causes and their remains often get scavenged. Where we do believe a predator is involved, we can only act within strict legislation to deal with this; an example of action we have taken previously is installing fish refuges against cormorant predation. We have worked with the Angling Trusts Fishery Management Advisors in the past and have applied for, and been awarded, rod licence funding for mitigation projects.

The only legal mitigation against otters is installing otter fencing with the aim of preventing  otters from getting near the pool. However, there are many factors and complexities that stand in the way of this approach. Considerations include public access, the shape of the land, visual issues, anti-social behaviour and vandalism, extensive tree cover, and other wildlife such as badgers, deer and foxes. The presence of many of these issues would make Pine Pool an extremely difficult place to fence effectively. For example, previous attempts to grow a boundary hedge around the permitter have failed due to visitors taking shortcuts through the area.

These challenges, alongside our responsibility to protect all wildlife and the rights of our county’s protected species, must all be considered when looking at any potential action to be taken in response to the predation of fish by otters at Kingsbury Water Park. Concerns can be reported to our team via email at

More information about otter predation can be found from the Angling Trust.



Published: 4th January 2024