Ot­ter or not-ter – Les­ley’s Bollin footage has wildlife fans di­vided

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE -

A VIDEO show­ing a small mam­mal play­ing in the River Bollin has left view­ers di­vided over its iden­tity.

The film, which was shared by the Macc Ex­press and viewed hun­dreds of times, was cap­tured by Les­ley An­drews, from Mac­cles­field, who spot­ted the an­i­mal as she walked along the banks of the Mac­cles­field river.

But while some view­ers im­me­di­ately recog­nised it as an ot­ter, which are a pro­tected species, oth­ers have sug­gested it’s a mink, which are not na­tive to Bri­tain and a threat to lo­cal wildlife.

Les­ley, who asked the Mac­cles­field Ex­press to help iden­tify the an­i­mal, said: “I came across what I thought was an ot­ter just play­ing in the wa­ter. At one point it just sat and watched me. I’ve never seen one be­fore.

“I thought I’d send it in be­cause I thought peo­ple might be in­ter­ested to know – I never thought it would gen­er­ate so much in­ter­est!”

Les­ley added: “It’s sounds like it’s likely to be a mink, but we don’t re­ally know, it’s hard to tell. I’ll be dis­ap­pointed if it’s not an ot­ter. I don’t know a lot about minks but I don’t think they are very pop­u­lar.”

More than 100 peo­ple gave their opin­ion on the species on our face­book page, but even the rangers at Cheshire East Coun­cil have failed to iden­tify it for sure.

A Cheshire East Coun­cil spokesman said: “From the im­ages we have seen we can­not be cer­tain that it is one or the other.

“We know there have been re­ports of both ot­ters and mink in the River Bollin but they are very sim­i­lar in ap­pear­ance and we are not con­fi­dently able to iden­tity this par­tic­u­lar an­i­mal from the in­for­ma­tion we have so far.”

Com­ment­ing on our face­book page, Carol De­whurst seemed con­fi­dent.

She said: “Sorry – it’s a mink – I’ve lived next to the River Bollin for four years and seen mink reg­u­larly. They kill the other wildlife.”

And Sheila Kirk agreed, she said: “A mink. Of­ten in Spencer Brook in Prest­bury which flows into the Bollin.”

But there were plenty of read­ers who are still con­vinced Les­ley cap­tured an il­lu­sive ot­ter, which are be­com­ing more com­mon af­ter be­ing close to ex­tinc­tion in the 1970s.

Gaily Bai­ley posted: “It’s an ot­ter. I saw one on the Bollin a cou­ple of years ago. The base of the tail is big­ger than a mink’s.”

Aileen An­der­son added: “It’s an ot­ter, doesn’t look like a mink and I’ve seen a lot of mink on the Avon in Worces­ter­shire.”

Wil­liam Lacey said: “Def­i­nitely ot­ter – great to know the river is that clean.”

WHAT do you think? Watch the video at www. mac­cles­field­ex­press. co.uk.

Above, an ot­ter, inset, a still from Les­ley’s video

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