Otter living in Ipswich park has died in traffic accident

A European otter that had made its home in a town centre park has died.

The secretive animal, rare in southern England, had been captured on video bathing and fishing in a stream in Holywells Park in Ipswich last month.

Ipswich Borough Council, which owns the park, said: "Sadly, we have now received confirmation that an otter has sustained injuries consistent with a traffic accident and has died.

"We are incredibly saddened by this news," a spokesperson said.

The otter's body was found by a member of the public on Wednesday, on Cliff Lane, close to Holywells Park.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust previously told the BBC otters had been sighted in Ipswich in the past, along the River Orwell and in the Port of Ipswich.

The trust added that the presence of the normally elusive animals in the park demonstrated "how wildlife is adapting to changing landscapes and habitat loss".

It was thought the recent floods could explain why the otter had travelled further inland.

The wildlife trust describes the European otter as a rare but widespread species, found throughout the country but absent from parts of central and southern England, the Isle of Man, the Isles of Scilly and the Channel Islands.

The animals are protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and there have been reintroduction programmes at various places, with a large part played by the Otter Trust near Bungay in Suffolk.

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