Rare sighting of otter captured on film in Burnley

A rare sighting of an otter has been made in Burnley.

Olivia Foley (17) managed to capture some footage on her phone of the otter in the Leeds Liverpool canal close to the Inn on the Wharf in the Manchester Road area at the weekend.

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And although it only lasts for a couple of seconds, you can clearly see the animal dive down into the water before swimming to the bank.

There has been a rare sighting of an otter in Burnley (photo for illustration purposes only)

Olivia's dad, David said: "We couldn't believe it when Olivia came home and showed us the video.

"I have never seen an otter around here before ever but I will be looking out for them in future as I think there must be more around.”

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Otters, which are often elusive and nocturnal, returned to Lancashire a decade ago after clawing their way back from extinction, according to experts.

Pollution to local waterways had seen them more or less disappear, but the Environment Agency said that as rivers had started to flourish again after serious pollution incidents had been slashed by half since 2001, many animals had returned.

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Olivia Foley grabbed her phone to get footage of this otter when she spotted it in Burnley in the Leeds Liverpool Canal

Last year the Ribble Rivers Trust carried out a conservation task to search for signs of otters at several local sites.

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The survey was launched to discover if otter numbers were on the rise on the River Ribble which flows through Lancashire into Yorkshire.

The Trust said that Eurasian otters are ‘near threatened’ with extinction, with their population having crashed in the UK in the last century due to pollution, habitat loss and hunting.

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But signs were appearing that their numbers were back on the rise but conservationists have no idea how many there are in the area.

Olivia Foley captured this image of an otter in the Leeds Liverpool Canal in Burnley at the weekend