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A whole otter fish Otter makes a comeback in Switzerland

They're curious, shy and smart. Otters disappeared from Swiss rivers 30 years ago because of water pollution. Now they're slowly making a comeback. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)

Fresh trails from European fish otters in Bern and in the Engadine valley are a sign that the animal has made a definite return to Switzerland. The national and local authorities now want to set up a national otter group to prepare for potential conflicts of interests, such as with fish breeders. The otter could also pose a threat to some endangered fish and crab species.

The Federal Office for the Environment has announced that in recent months two female otters and their cubs have been repeatedly captured by a motion detector camera. It's the fourth time there has been evidence of wild otter offspring in Bern.

Where the animals have come from precisely is unclear. But due to growing populations in neighbouring countries France and Austria, it is estimated the otters have immigrated naturally.

The otter died out in the wild in Switzerland in the 1990s due to excessive hunting and polluted waterways.

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