Saturday, 22 February 2014

The International Otter Survival Fund

Since starting to sew otters in 2011, I have donated 10% of sales to an otter sanctuary or charity every year.  To be honest, I don't make much money on these as they are incredibly labour-intensive (the larger ones take about three hours to sew) so this is a big deal to me.

The recent unprecedented storms and flooding in the UK have actually had a huge negative impact on the otter population, contrary to what you might think.  Holts will have been flooded out and families separated.  Adult otters will have had to find alternative ways around their territory as culverts and spaces under bridges vanish under the flood waters. This usually means crossing roads which can result in the otters being run over, leaving their cubs orphaned.  The quality of the flood water is very poor as it gets mixed in with sewage, which leads to infections, so any rescued cubs being brought into animal shelters can be in a very bad way and often don't survive.

Cub rescued from the River Cam - picture Cambridge News

This year, the money will go to the International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF).

Conrad the rescued otter cub - picture by the IOSF

Based on the Isle Of Skye, the IOSF was set up by Paul and Grace Yoxon to safeguard otter populations around the world.  They raise awareness of otters, help improve local environments to enable otter survival and fight against the trading of otter fur, as well continuing international research into otter behaviour and populations to ensure that each of the 13 different species continue to survive and flourish.

On Skye, they take in and rehabilitate abandoned or sick otters - mostly cubs who have lost their parents.  All healthy otters are released back into the wild if they can be. This is why the centre is not open to the public, as they need to keep human interaction to the minimum so that the otters remain as wild as possible.

Rescued cubs Jasper and Mangal cuddle up - picture by the IOSF

Their work has won them two awards in the last couple of years - the IFAW Animal Action Award in 2012 and the British Animal Honour's Wildlife Conservation Award in 2013.

Shark Alley's otters are also on sale in the IOSF online shop, where a massive 30% of the price goes towards supporting their work.

So every Shark Alley otter you buy goes to help the real thing! Shop with a good conscience and wear your halo of goodness ALL DAY.  Then you can send me pictures of your otter doing funny things and I can put it on the Fuzzy Otter blog.  Take a look - it's quite fun!

Tarquin, Mungo & Splash - picture by their keeper, Bosun Smee.

International Otter Survival Fund
7, Black Park
Isle of Skye
IV49 9DE

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