Otters On Camera!
News on the Otters & Education Project. We received grant funding from The Countryside Council for Wales, kindly match funded by South Hook LNG. It was used by Pembrokeshire Rivers Trust to deliver an extension to our Interactive Education Programme focusing on Otters in Pembrokeshire.
This education programme had two main areas of work: the first being the delivery of an educational programme and the second being the development of camera technology to monitor otter activity.
A montage of footage captured by the project
Look out for the cubs fighting over an ‘eel dinner’!
Utilisation of camera technology to monitor otter activity
As part of the 2008 project, research was undertaken into camera technology, with a view to installing a camera at an identified site in Pembroke to record otter movements. Discussions have continued with Pembrokeshire County Council (PCC) about the installation of the camera at this site in Pembroke and an outline planning application was submitted for them to consider as the structure on which the camera would be placed is Grade 2 listed and therefore listed building consent may have been required.
At the same time a detailed proposal was submitted to S.A. Brain & Company who own the Waterman’s Arms, to investigate the potential for having a live feed and / or edited footage showing in the pub. A very positive response was received from the Brewery who agreed to be involved in the project and were happy for power for the running of the camera to be sourced from the Waterman’s Arms, in addition to housing the TV monitor and showing images in the pub (both live and recorded footage).
The discussions with PCC have involved their Historic Building Conservation Officer visiting the site to establish if the proposal for mounting the camera and cable would affect the character of the structure. A description of the proposal along with photographs showing where the camera would be located and examples of similar cameras and cables from another site were sent to the Historic Building Conservation Officer to help inform his decision. Several options have been discussed with PCC and one has now been approved by the Historic Building Conservation Officer and the Councils Ecologist, which will have no adverse effects on the visual character of the structure where the camera will be mounted or the conservation features of the surrounding area.
As the proposal has now been cleared to proceed the equipment is in the process of being purchased and once this has been done the camera will be installed at the chosen location during the summer of 2010.
Once installed further work will be done with the Waterman’s Arms to promote the availability of the footage which will be available for live viewing by the public inside the pub. It is anticipated that the footage from the camera will be used not only in the identification of individual otters and as a valuable source of research information into the use of the site, but also as an educational resource that the Rivers Trust can use as part of its future educational programmes whereby compiled images can be shown to a wide community audience and local schools.