Published: 14:08, 16 September 2009
| Updated: 16:05, 16 September 2009
One of Britain's most-loved - but rarest - mammals could be making a permanent return to the River Medway.
There have been recent sightings of otters around the Barming area.
Reports suggest Barming Bridge is the place to go for a chance to spot the elusive fish-eating creatures, which entered the nation's affections after the publication of Henry Williamson's novel Tarka the Otter.
A call from one resident is the latest in a string of reports of otters in the river at Barming - proof to environmentalists that ongoing work to create habitats along the river is paying off.
Caroline Drewett, partnership manager for the Medway Valley Countryside Partnership, confirmed there had been several sightings near the bridge, adding: "Otters do live in the Medway catchment but they’re so secretive that you’re lucky to ever see one. I’ve never seen one myself - it’s usually fisherman that spot them."
She added: "The Environment Agency have made a lot of improvements along the river for otters."
But she said the River Medway could not support many otters as the animals have long territories or ‘ranges’ stretching for up to 20 kilometres along a river.
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Picture: Colin Miles.