Watch as ‘TrainspOtter’ seen at Edinburgh’s Haymarket Station
A curious otter was spotted making its way through Edinburgh’s Haymarket Station on Monday morning by a ScotRail driver.
Ian Terrell spotted the otter on platform one, disappearing into the service area located behind the station building.
He said: “I was about to enter the train on platform zero to shunt it to Waverley when I saw movement and realised it was an otter accessing the platform and heading away from me towards the tunnel end.
“It stopped, studied the retaining wall to the left, then about turned and walked towards me when I took the video.”
He added that the previous night there had been reports of what looked like ‘a large rodent’ at the station so it may have been the otter visiting before.
Charlotte Neary, a community and volunteers officer for the Water of Leith Conservation trust has studied the otter population in the Water of Leith for a number of years.
She said: "We've been looking after the Water of Leith since 1988 and have seen the water quality steadily increase as we have cleaned up the river. Back then there weren’t really any otter sightings and it wasn’t really until about 10 years ago that we heard of a breeding female on the river.
“Before lockdown began we surveyed the urban stretch of the water to estimate how many otters there were and what they had been feeding on.
“When we went into lockdown and no one could do anything but go on walks the otter sightings just escalated and I have been keeping track of where they are present.
“We think that there are two family groups of otters using the Water of Leith including three cubs and a family group visiting from the Union Canal.
“People care so much, the Lutra Lutra otter which we have in the UK is a European protected species, they’re iconic and beautiful and can’t live without a decent level of food so they need to travel between water courses and it is important they can move around
“The Water of Leith Conservation Trust has been looking after the river for more than 30 years and we have amazing volunteers to help us do what we do. One really important thing we do is reporting water quality issues so we can help improve the water quality which allows this beautiful species of otter to thrive.”
Charlotte added that the increase in the otter population had been down to many years of hard work maintaining the river and making it habitable for the wildlife to thrive in.
During lockdown, the Water of Leith Conservation Trust lost a third of its income.
This Sunday, while dressed as an otter, Charlotte will run the length of the Water of Leith, 28 miles from its beginning point in the Pentlands to Leith to raise vital funds for the Trust.
Those wishing to donate can do so on the Just Giving page.