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Hope for injured otter Henry

7 JUNE 2018

An otter is making an astounding recovery after being rescued by the ISPCA and a conservation ranger in Wicklow.

The otter, later called Henry, was first spotted on the road near the Meeting of the Waters, where a kind member of the public herded him back into the Avoca River. When Henry continued to wander back out to the roadside, appearing a little worse for wear, the person secured him beneath a flower pot and contacted the National Parks and Wildlife Service for advice.

ISPCA Chief Inspector Conor Dowling was also contacted, and met a conservation ranger at the location. Together they secured Henry and transported him to Bairbre O’Malley’s veterinary practice.

While the otter showed no obvious signs of external injury, he was unable to use his hind legs properly.  The vet suspected he was hit by a car and had incurred some neurological damage, which she hoped was temporary.

Henry was then transferred to the Kildare Animal Foundation (KAF), where he received round the clock care from Dan Donoher and his team. It took three days of intense nursing, but Henry finally turned a corner. He has begun using his hind legs again and regained his appetite. He continues to thrive and put on weight, and his coat is regaining its usual shine.

Dan said: “We are always delighted to work with the ISPCA and were happy assist in the rehabilitation of Henry and many other wildlife casualties we continue to help. Our great partnership with the ISPCA is going from strength to strength and rescue groups working together to help animals is the only way forward. We hope to release Henry back to his natural habitat in the coming weeks.

ISPCA Chief Inspector Conor Dowling said:  “We are relieved to see Henry is making such a remarkable recovery with Dan and the team at KAF.  His prognosis was uncertain at first and it was touch and go as to whether he would make it. I’m just glad to have been able to help him on his way”.

Otters are nocturnal animals that hunt mostly at night and rest during the day in a holt. The live beside lakes and river banks, and are excellent swimmers. Otters spend a lot of their time on land, with the exception of the Sea Otter, which spends almost all of its time in the water. Otters are carnivores, and feed mostly on fish like salmon and trout, eels, frogs, insects, dead animals and water birds. A young otter is called a cub or a pup and is well able to swim from just a few months of age. Pups will feed from the milk their mother provides for their first year of life. Male otters are called boars, and females called sows. They can grow to about 3 feet in length when fully grown and can weigh about 20 lbs. Otters are very playful animals and can often be seen jumping in and out of the water.

Unfortunately otters can be victim to water pollution, road kills, fish traps which have taken their toll on otter habitats in Ireland.

Under the Wildlife Act 1976, it is an offence to hunt, disturb or intentionally kill an otter.

If you are in any doubt about animal welfare concerns, the ISPCA would like to encourage members of the public to report online in confidence here, email or call the National Animal Cruelty Helpline on 1890 515 515.

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