VOLUNTEERS are being sought to count otters.

Durham Wildlife Trust is holding a two-day survey, on April 26 and 27.

Last April, more than 100 volunteers took part in the trust’s first survey, which experts say revealed useful evidence confirming the creatures’ return to areas across County Durham, Darlington, Sunderland, Gateshead and South Tyneside.

Conservation officer Vivien Kent said: “Volunteers will be allocated a patch of river or watercourse near where they live which they can then explore to identify a series of sites within that patch that are thought likely to provide a good chance of finding otter signs.

“These sites could be bridges, or rocks where an otter regularly leaves spraint, their droppings, food remains or a patch of mud where it’s easy to see tracks.”

Volunteers will be asked to survey their site on the Saturday morning and again on the Sunday morning.

Ms Kent said: “Not finding anything will be as important as finding new spraint or tracks because we will then have a picture of the minimum number of occupied otter territories there are in the survey area on that Saturday night.

“This survey relies on recruiting as many volunteers as possible so we hope that people will come forward.

“Those who took part last year really enjoyed the experience and they will be helping to add to our knowledge of otters in the area.”

Volunteers must be available on the mornings of both April 26 and 27.

For more information, call 0191-584-3112 or email: vkent@durhamwt.co.uk