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Page last updated at 12:23 GMT, Saturday, 19 March 2011
Wildwood otters get a step towards a new wetland home
Kent is the only county in England in where currently otters are not found

A donation has meant a step closer towards the creation of a new wetland home for otters at Wildwood Discovery Park near Canterbury.

Kent is the only county in England where otters are not found in their natural habitat according to a recent Environment Agency survey.

A new area at Wildwood will be centred around a new otter enclosure.

Wildwood hopes to educate visitors and promote awareness of otters by having them in a near natural habitat.

An otter den
Otter facts
Otters can close off their noses and ears when they go underwater
They can hold their breath for up to four minutes
Otters are related to badgers, weasels, stoats, pine martens and polecats

The proposed wetland enclosure will have a filtered pond and a large otter den, all constructed in natural woodland.

The den will have special chambers with one-way glass to assist behavioural studies and research without disturbing the otters.

There will also be a hospital area to keep otters separate should they need vetinary treatment, or when new otters are brought into the park.

The wetland area will also have a water shrew enclosure, water vole viewing area and simple aquariums for British species.

'Vital funds'

Eurasian Otter
There is only one species of otter in Britain - the Eurasian otter

The donation of £21,000 was given by W G Harvey Discretionary Trust, a charitable trust dedicated to the prevention of cruelty to animals and the preservation of wild animal and bird life.

Peter Smith, chief executive of Wildwood said: "We are extremely pleased to receive these vital funds that will allow us to highlight the plight of the otter and help us in our campaign to make our rivers a safe place that will once again harbour our wetland wildlife."



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