Otter spotted in centre of Madrid travelling up the Manzanares River

The aquatic mammal has been spotted travelling up the Manzanares River to the old stadium area of Vicente Calderon.

Otters have been pushed to the verge of extinction in the area due to the high contamination of the cities’ rivers but a recent project to clean up the local waterways has brought the mammal slowly back into the area.

The otter, a male approximately a metre long, was spotted by biologist Francisco José García, from the biodiversity monitoring group of the Complutense University. Santiago Soria. He was travelling along the river looking to install bat boxes.

Over the past 50 years the otter population in central Spain’s waterways has dramatically decreased due to contamination from the large amounts of industrial areas that flank the river banks. However 10 years ago a slight improvement and recent sightings last year have further confirmed that the species is moving back into the area.

The project to clean up the rivers started in 2016 by ecology group Ecologists in Action. They commissioned for the city council to lift dams at sections of rivers to improve flow and water levels. The action increased the number of habitable areas which introduced a large number of species back to the area.

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