Page last updated at 14:48 GMT, Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Otters drowned in illegal traps

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An Essex Wildlife Trust spokesman said the otters would have suffered a lingering death

Otters have been found drowned in illegal crayfish traps in the River Wid in Essex.

The two animals, believed to be a mother and her cub, suffered what Essex Wildlife Trust said would have been a "long, drawn-out death".

Darren Tansley, from the trust, said: "This is a tragic find, especially if it is a mother and her cub."

Killing otters or native crayfish can result in a fine of up to £5,000 or up to six months in prison.

Anyone needing to set a trap must obtain a licence from the Environment Agency.

Mr Tansley said of the otters: "These are animals that are used to diving - they are semi-aquatic and can hold their breath, so to drown in this way is a long, drawn-out process."

He added that the traps were now one of the biggest threats to otters with more dying this way than on the roads.



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Otters drowned in illegal traps
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