July 13, 2024

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

Andrew Purcell

Forget cat’s eyes on our roads, now it’s all about the otters.

Last week, it was announced that Highland Council plan to install reflectors alongside some roads in Wester Ross, Scotland, in order to help reduce the number of otter deaths occurring in this area. The reflectors are to be installed alongside roads at otter-eye level. The idea is that cars’ headlights will illuminate the reflectors, thus deterring the otters from crossing the roads. The decision to install the reflectors comes following the success of a similar scheme run on the Isle of Skye by the dramatically-named International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF), which is based on the island. The IOSF’s Dr Paul Yoxon has this to say regarding the new scheme:

“Over the past couple of years otters have been killed crossing the road at night near Lochluichart, and having had success in installing reflectors on a similar black-spot crossing on Skye, the IOSF discussed this solution to the problem with Highland Council. We’re delighted that the Highland Council have now followed-through. This initiative will certainly help this popular and charismatic mammal continue to thrive in this small corner of Wester Ross.”

The IOSF were also in the news last year when they sent supplies of special powdered milk out to the Democratic Republic of Congo to aid in the rearing of a rare clawless otter rescued by missionaries working in the area. The milk supplies reached the missionaries via an air supply drop.


Image is from Wikipedia.com