Resurgent otter populations are killing valuable pet fish, police in Wiltshire have warned, amid claims that wildlife groups are releasing them in inappropriate locations.
Otter populations have had a resurgence since the middle of last century, when pollution nearly wiped them out.
They are now a protected species found across the country after a reintroduction effort backed by the Government.
But while the last official reintroduction of otters took place in 1999, smaller wildlife groups continue to release rescued otters into the wild.
These ad-hoc reintroductions often take place in areas with existing populations, pushing the otters to leave the area and seek food away from the river, warned Ben Potterton from the Otter Trust.
Lead Image: Police urge pond owners to cover their waters with mesh or erect a wire fence to prevent otters from eating their fish CREDIT: Education Images/Universal Images Group Editorial.
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