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Cork Independent

Lifestyle & Leisure

Ireland’s first otter trail for city

Wednesday, 4th November, 2020 2:57pm

Something totally new has recently been developed in the middle of Cork city, highlighting nature in the city centre.

Cork Nature Network has developed a four-stop Cork City Otter Trail along the river Lee, starting from Camden Quay and ending in FitzGerald’s Park. It is the first such trail in Ireland. The route is approximately 1.3 miles (2km) in length, and it offers lots of info about the urban otter population in Cork city.

The idea behind having a City Otter Trail is to show people that even in the middle of Cork city, they can still admire wildlife.

The Cork City Otter Trail is detailed by four signs that offer information about the Eurasian otters’ habitat, diet and conservation. At each sign you will also see otter tracks. The otter images were designed by local artist Ciaran Coughlan and the otter tracks developed by Cork Otter project assistant Chris Moody.

Gill Weyman, Director and Chair of Cork Nature Network, added that “the trail is a first for Ireland and is intended to show people how important urban environments are for wildlife. These unusual times provide an opportunity for us to appreciate wildlife in our local environments.”

Cork city has a unique urban otter population, and surveys run by Cork Nature Network have shown that a number of otters live and forage in the city.

Otters are generally nocturnal animals, and they can be very shy, which can make spotting them a bit difficult.

However, they can sometimes be seen during the day as well. The best way to find out if otters are in a river is to look for the signs they leave behind, such as spraints, prints or trails in bankside vegetation leading down to the river.

In 2021, the network will be running a project to survey the otters in the city and the harbour. This will also be accompanied by the launch of an otter film, talks and other promotional activities.

The Cork Otters project started in 2016 in Cork city as a result of concerns on the potential loss of otter habitat within the city. Since then public interest and enthusiasm on otters have grown exponentially.

The aim of Cork Nature Network is to benefit the community of Cork by promoting and encouraging the conservation of wildlife and habitats in Cork city and county by educating and increasing the awareness of the need for conservation.

To find out more go to www.corknaturenetwork.ie or check out their social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin. Email contact@corknaturenetwork.ie.

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