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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 November 2007, 11:21 GMT
Otter cubs seen at bird reserve
Otters were virtually extinct in the UK by 1980
Two otter cubs have been spotted at a Lancashire nature reserve after a gap of 10 years.

Up until 1996 the animals were regularly seen at the RSPB Leighton Moss reserve in Silverdale.

Now the otters have made their home at the reserve, where the RSPB has carried out habitat management work to encourage their return.

The otters' settlement has been monitored by regular visitors Elaine and Eddie Prince.

Mr Prince said: "We were watching a female otter swimming in the gloom of twilight when we noticed that it kept pausing and looking over its shoulder, and scanning the water behind.

"Then we spotted two smaller otters following her, which were struggling to keep up in the choppy water.

'Special moment'

"We realised that they must be her cubs. It was thrilling to see the two young otters and a very special wildlife moment that neither of us will forget."

Otters were once widespread in Britain but by 1980 were almost extinct.

RSPB Leighton Moss reserve manager, Robin Horner, said their return was "wonderful news".

"It just goes to show that the RSPB isn't just about birds, and the work we carry out at Leighton Moss benefits a wide range of special wildlife," he said.

Planning row over otter hotspot
01 Oct 07 |  Lancashire

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