Cork Nature Network develops Ireland's first ever Otter Trail

Cork Nature Network develops Ireland's first ever Otter Trail

An otter photographed in the River Lee. In a first for Ireland, Cork Nature Network has developed a four-stop Otter Trail in the city centre, designed to help the public learn more about urban otters. Photo: Gerard McCarthy

In a first for Ireland, Cork Nature Network has developed a four-stop Otter Trail in the city centre, designed to help the public learn more about urban otters.

The trail along the River Lee starts from Camden Quay and finishes at Fitzgerald's Park - a route of approximately 2km in total.

In a statement, Cork Nature Network, a non-profit organisation aimed at promoting and encouraging the conservation of wildlife and habitats in Cork, said the aim of the trail is to encourage people to appreciate the outdoors and the wildlife in the city.

"The idea behind having a city Otter Trail is to show people that, even in the middle of Cork city, they can still admire wildlife whilst enjoying the outdoor environment. 

"It is important to have such local walks such as the Otter Trail in these current climates and they can greatly help towards enhancing our health and wellbeing," the group said.

The Cork city Otter Trail is enriched by signs that offer information about the Eurasian otters’ habitat, diet and conservation.

At each sign, the public will also notice otter tracks, painted by Cork Otter Project assistant Chris Moody.

The otter images were designed by local artist Ciaran Coughlan.

"The trail is a first for Ireland and is intended to show people how important urban environments are for wildlife," Gill Weyman, Director and Chair of Cork Nature Network said.
"These unusual times provide an opportunity for us to appreciate wildlife in our local environments," she continued.

Cork city has a very unique urban otter population and surveys run by Cork Nature Network have shown that a number of otters live and forage in the city. 

Otters are generally nocturnal animals and they can be very shy, which can make spotting them a bit difficult. However, they can sometimes be seen during the day as well. 

Next year is set to be an exciting year for Cork Nature Network, who will be running a project to survey the otters in the city and the harbour. 

This will also be accompanied by the launch of a film, talks and other activities.

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