G Griffiths's Reviews > The Private Life of the Otter

The Private Life of the Otter by Philip Wayre
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it was amazing
bookshelves: environment, guides, my-reviews, ya

I started reading this fascinating book about a year ago while on holiday in a cottage on the Isle of Skye. It was the usual thing; I picked it out from the various genres on the shelf of books left for visitors who found the weather particularly 'unfair' one day and wanted something to read. I was unable to finish it before leaving but managed to obtain a used copy on returning home. Apparently otters are more common on the west coast of Scotland and we felt lucky to see them more than once swimming in the various bays around Skye. Thrilling for everyone in our party of four adults and two girls, and which increased my desire to find out more. I had previously read Gavin Maxwell's 'Ring of Bright Water' and 'The River People' also by Philip Wayre, the author of the book in Skye.

Wayre must have been one of the most expert people in the world on the subject of otters, and not just the European species. He and his wife established the first British Wildlife park in 1971 where they set up a very successful breeding project in order to re-introduce otters back into the wild. Both of his books include all sorts of details about otters: amusing tales about his own close-up experiences with those he kept; intricate details and measurements recorded for studying them further, and in this book, lots of amazing black and white photographs. The pictures may lack the amazing clarity and colour available to almost anyone in these digital times but the photos, taken in the late 1960s and early 70s, were so poignant and somehow underlined how terribly persecuted these wonderful animals once were - almost to extinction in the UK. There is advice for readers who wish to study otters further although Wayre and others have set up important otter trusts that will be far more efficient in my opinion. There is always the danger that well meaning individuals may do more harm than good, or even, unknowingly, cross the legal lines involved in caring for wild animals like otters, polecats, badgers etc. Notwithstanding all that this book is a Tour de Force! Highly recommended to lovers of wildlife.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
September 2, 2019 – Finished Reading
September 7, 2019 – Shelved
September 7, 2019 – Shelved as: environment
September 7, 2019 – Shelved as: guides
September 7, 2019 – Shelved as: my-reviews
September 7, 2019 – Shelved as: ya

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