How pollution affects the otter

  In some countries, otters are still hunted for what is called 'sport'. They are literally 'hounded' by twenty to forty terriers, some times for up to five hours, until they are either forced onto land or into shallow water to be killed. The otter skin is not worth very much, so sometimes the otter is allowed to escape. However, many otters may then die of sheer fright, and the disturbance to otters and all other river life by the hunt can be very serious.
  All the same, the huntsmen do not kill very many otters. The main threat is far more serious. The otter is steadily losing more and more of the places where it can live as towns spread farther and farther along the river banks and as streams are controlled and dammed. Power boats and cruisers on the rivers and picnickers on the banks scare it away from still more rivers. Above all, the pollution, or poisoning, of rivers by sewage, waste from factories and from chemicals now makes it impossible for the otter to live in many places. Only where it is farthest from man is the otter still safe — but for how much longer?
  In Britain and elsewhere, there are plans to set aside 'otter havens', stretches of river which will be kept as clean, natural and undisturbed as possible, so that the otter can live there safely. Conservation groups are working together to find out more about the otter's life so that it can be better protected. At last attempts are being made to clean up the rivers.
  Pollution, after all, affects not just the otter but all life in the river. That includes the trout and salmon which the hunters once said they were protecting by killing the otter. Now these hunters and others will have to try instead to protect trout, salmon and otter, by protecting the river itself.