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