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Submitted by: Grace

We have just received an email from Takahiro Murakami from the Shiretoko Museum and Shiretoko Nature Foundation in Japan, who told us that the Ministry have just announced that a video of an otter was taken this February at Tsushima, in the Nagasaki prefecture.

Japanese otter

You can see the unique video HERE. It was taken by Dr Izawa, from Ryukyu University, who was studying the Tsushima wildcat.

This is such exciting news, as in 2012 the Ministry announced that otters were extinct in Japan as no signs had been seen since the 1990s and the last confirmed sighting was in 1979 on Shikoku island.

In 2014 IOSF was invited to Japan to advise as part of a feasibility study into reintroducing otters to the Shiretoko National Park in Hokkaido.

Now it seems as if the otters have not completely disappeared after all.

DNA analysis of two fecal samples revealed that one of them is from a Eurasian otter and it is similar to the Korean population. However, it has not yet been confirmed, whether this is a remnant individual of the "Japanese otter" or an individual from Korea. Tsushima is situated between the Korean peninsula and Japan

Otters are an important part of Japanese culture, so this is a very important discovery. The Japanese otter is believed to have been a subspecies of the Eurasian otter, but it is also possible that it was a separate species altogether.

11 August 2017 - The Otter Bank

Submitted by: Helen

Some of you may remember, back in February 2014 we did a piece in our e-newsletter 38 about the Otter Bank.

Otter Bank-bow

Otter Bank-name

[Photos Helen Stephenson]

The Otter Bank is a boat that sailed around the Orkney Isles in the 1960's as a floating bank, operated by the National Commercial Bank of Scotland, allowing islanders to deposit and access their accounts. But it was in 1970 that she was sold on to a private owner, after inter-island flights resulted in Otter Bank being taken out of service.

Otter Bank-story of_Orkney Historic Boat Society

Otter Bank-story of--Orkney Historic Boat Society

Otter Bank-customers-Orkney Library & Archive

[photos Helen Stephenson from the information banner provided at the Scapa Flow Visitor Centre.]

Well, on a recent holiday to the Orkney Isles I had the pleasure of visiting the Scapa Flow Visitor Centre at Lyness, Hoy where I saw the restored Otter Bank and was fascinated to read her story. What a wonderful job the Orkney Historic Boat Society has done, and what lovely staff are at the Centre to ensure that you get the most from of your visit.

Their story also made the news.

Otter Bank-stern

[Photo Helen Stephenson]

08 August 2017 - Our new cub has company

Submitted by: Grace

On Friday, another cub arrived after being found just 100m from the first. Originally they thought the first cub was female but in fact it is a male, now called Ernie. It seems almost certain that they are brothers so we put them together straight away. Normally we have a period of quarantine to make sure that two unrelated cubs don’t pass anything on but clearly this was unnecessary.

However, they weren’t that pleased to see each other again so we removed the new cub, called Jenson, and kept him separate for a couple of days until they both settled in.

Yesterday we introduced them to each other and as you can see they are very content to be together again.

Clachtoll cubs

You can watch a short video of Jenson tucking into his fish on YouTube

Thanks again to everyone who helped to bring these two cubs down to us - Clarinda, Blake, Hilary, Nathan, Andy, Noel and Jackie.

04 August 2017 - New arrival

Submitted by: Ben


Welcome to our newest arrival who arrived last night at the sanctuary. This tiny cub had been found running around beside the road at Clachtoll, near Lochinver, in north-west Scotland. We assume that its mother was hit on the road leaving the cub alone.

Thanks to Clarinda who found it and Andy, Noel and Jackie who helped to get the cub to us on Skye.

01 August 2017 - Wee Soft Otter goes kayaking!

Submitted by: Janet

The wee soft otter that keeps us company in the office had great adventures on the high seas last week. He went kayaking in Orkney with Helen and had a wonderful time!



What are your toy otters doing this summer? We would love to see some pictures! You can share them on one of our Facebook pages (IOSF or Otter Shop), on Twitter (@IOSF @otter_shop) or email to