Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre

Young otter cub found alone and crying for his mum

The cub named Windy will be released back into the wild once he has been rehabilitated

The RSPCA were called to rescue a young otter cub which was found alone and crying out for his mum in a stream near Windermere.

A member of the public spotted the otter sitting in a beck on Tuesday (August 10) and heard him making contact calls for his mum.

The otter appeared distressed and was not moving around so they reported the matter to the RSPCA.

Animal rescuer, Inspector Martyn Fletcher was sent to the scene and was concerned that the baby otter did not attempt to escape when he was approached - which is very unusual.

He managed to safely capture the youngster and took him to a nearby vets. 

The otter was found to be of a good body weight but he had fly-strike in four places which the vet managed to treat but there were concerns for his health.

The otter was then transferred to the RSPCA’s  Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre, near Nantwich, in Cheshire, where rescuers named him Windy from the lake close to where he was rescued.

Windy’s condition will be monitored over the coming days and once he has recovered and is old enough he will be returned to the wild, but this will take around 12 months.

Martyn said: “I have no idea why the otter was alone and wonder if his mother has been killed perhaps in a road accident.

“Windy himself seemed in good health but there was clearly something wrong with him as the person who spotted him said he did not move from the spot where he was sitting for a few hours. 

“Then when I approached him he still did not try to escape - which is really unheard of in healthy wildlife. 

“I used my net to safely capture him and instead of trying to run off as expected he rolled over squealing.

“Checks showed he was in good condition and of a good weight - but he did have flystrike and if the eggs had hatched he would have had maggots in his body and wouldn’t have survived, so I am grateful to the member of the public for reporting this to us when he did.

“Windy seems to be quite lively now in our care so his condition will be monitored and he will be cared for until he is ready to be released back into the wild.”

“Rescuing and rehabilitating animals like this is such an important part of what we do as a charity.”

Lee Stewart, manager at Stapeley Grange, said: “Otters have struggled over the years and they are certainly making a comeback in the wild, hence why we are seeing more arriving at the Centre.

“They weren’t safe from being hunted until 1978, at which point numbers were low, but over time their numbers have steadily started to rise and they can now be found in most counties in England and Wales. As a result we are seeing more being brought into Stapeley Grange.  

“Otter rehabilitation is very specialised and you need to have suitable facilities to care for them. Sadly, there are very few facilities in the UK that can care for otters cubs through to release so we are always having to make a plan to accommodate them. Young otter cubs can be with us for up to 12 months before they can be returned to the wild so their care is not only time consuming but very expensive. It can cost up to £4,000 to return a pair of orphaned cubs back to the wild. We currently have eight in our care so we are looking at £16,000 to return these orphans back to the wild.”

If a member of the public sees a wild animal in need of help, they can call the RSPCA’s emergency line on 0300 1234 999.

To support the ongoing work of Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre during this extremely difficult time, please donate to their Justgiving site:

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit our website or call our donation line on 0300 123 8181.