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Elgin residents asked to look out for Cooper Park otter

By Alistair Whitfield

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MORAY folk are being asked for their help to safely capture Cooper the much-loved otter who lives in Elgin's largest park.

Picture by Janice Gordon.
Picture by Janice Gordon.

Various photos taken last week appear to show the otter in such bad shape that he may have even lost his right eye.

A concerted effort being launched today to trap Cooper so he can be given medical treatment.

Keith Marley runs The New Arc, an animal sanctuary near Ellon, along with his wife Pauline.

The couple will be setting traps upon the island in the middle of the boating lake, and are asking the public to keep a lookout for the otter.

Keith said: "We were first made aware of the situation regarding Cooper late Wednesday night and, as we had already planned a trip up the East coast on the following day, (our first two day break in 14 years), we made sure we visited Cooper Park on route.

"We were fortunate to arrive there when Cooper was in attendance and managed to observe him in action.

"Although slightly hunched in appearance he seemed fully mobile, alert and responsive to everything around him and did not seem unduly stressed.

"We did not get close enough to get a detailed look at his injury to judge either the cause or its current state of infection or damage, but it is quite clear that he needs to be caught and examined by a qualified vet.

"We've received lots of suggestions as to what we should do, but none of them as simple as they seem.

"Cooper Park is a public place. We can’t just stick traps around the park - what about the local dog walkers or local cats getting in one?

"What if Cooper was trapped in a public place and then people or dogs came and investigated while he was in the trap?

"Moray council were very supportive but don’t work weekends. However arrangements have been made with the Wildlife Ranger for us to get our ‘waders’ on and set a trap on the Park island on Monday.

"This is the most likely site to trap Cooper causing the minimum of stress.

"We are asking the local community to do their bit by keeping a close eye on the trap and informing us if and hopefully when he enters it.

"The trap will only be set during daylight hours, but if you are in the area we are relying on you all to contact us.

Picture by Callum Lilley
Picture by Callum Lilley

"Apologies to the many concerned people who have been e-mailing and messaging us for updates, but we hope that you realise that we cannot respond to over 30 requests within several hours.

"We have noticed a few comments regarding a ‘fund’ for Cooper’s treatment.

"We appreciate the offer of support, but until his injuries can be assessed and a qualified diagnosis confirmed we cannot guarantee a successful outcome for Cooper. We can only try our best."

Contact The New Arc on 07962 253867.

The New Arc

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