AN OTTER has been spotted at the Pantano de Elche reservoir for the first time, announced environment councillor Antonio García on Thursday.
It was seen during the course of research for a project instigated by the council in collaboration with Miguel Hernández university.
One of the participants in the study, José Carlos Antón said the otter did not appear to be merely passing through and was filmed marking its territory. He added that there could be a genetic cross breed between the otters from the south and the north, which have also been reported in the province.
City hall awarded the UMH €5,000 to carry out the research and will be renewing the deal this year, noted Sr García.
“We are making an effort to showcase the reservoir, not only with the agreement but also by creating the path that will show off the nature in the area,” he said, adding that work on this was due to begin on Monday.
The Pantano de Elche has a large amount of wildlife living in the area, as well as the Limonium, ‘a very rare endangered plant’, said Sr Antón.
He indicated that they keep finding more species of flowers and have already catalogued more than 400.
There are numerous varieties of reptile, such as the Iberian parsley frog, Iberian worm lizard and Bedriaga’s skink.
Birds include the Bonelli’s eagle, Western marsh harrier, Eurasian eagle-owl and red-billed chough, and mammals the wild boar, common genet, fox and the recently discovered otter. The councillor said these findings full justify the efforts to invest in the area.