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TESTS are being carried out on an otter cub found dead on the banks of the Dorset Stour at Iford Bridge to find out if it had been poisoned.

The body of the 2-3-months-old otter was collected by the RSPCA and given to the Environment Agency for a post mortem examination.

Results are expected to take two weeks, but may not be conclusive if death was due to a territorial dispute caused by the rapidly expanding population.

Local barbel fishing expert and angling guide Ray Walton said the population of otters is now ‘phenomenal’ due to prolific breeding and there are insufficient territories for the new arrivals.

‘It’s got to the stage now where they are raiding back garden ponds and taking koi carp, and going into garden centres looking for new territory or a new food supply,’ said Ray.

‘There have been reports of them over a mile from the river, and they have also been taking coots, moorhens, mallards, ducks, even swans and herons, and also eating the eggs of wading birds because of the shortage of eels, which were their main diet and favourite food,’ he added.

For the full story, check out this week’s Angler’s Mail magazine.