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Journal of Marine Biology
Volume 2014, Article ID 430683, 6 pages
Research Article

Estimating Otter Numbers Using Spraints: Is It Possible?

1International Otter Survival Fund, Isle of Skye IV49 9DE, UK
2Kensington School, Carrer dels Cavallers 31/33 (Pedralbes), 08034 Barcelona, Spain

Received 13 September 2013; Revised 2 December 2013; Accepted 10 December 2013; Published 19 January 2014

Academic Editor: Oscar Iribarne

Copyright © 2014 Paul Yoxon and Kirsty Yoxon. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Spraints have been used to survey otters in the UK since 1979 and a standard methodology has been set up which has been used in Britain and Europe for most survey work. At present data from these surveys is being used to give an estimation of actual population numbers. However, for this to be possible, there must be a correlation between sprainting numbers, active spraint sites, and otter numbers. This paper investigates whether such a correlation exists. There is evidence from previous work that there is seasonal variation in sprainting and this study confirms this. Therefore spraint surveys should be undertaken in the same months for each repeat survey.