Graphic images of a drowned otter caught in an unlicensed trap have been release to Stroud Times.
A wild swimmer came across a distressed otter in the River Frome in Stroud on Wednesday 28 June.
On further investigation the swimmer found another otter trapped inside a signal crayfish trap nearby, however the animal was already dead.
The incident was reported to animal welfare officers at Stroud District Council and police were informed. The net has since been removed.
Alex Myrie, Senior Animal Welfare Officer at Stroud District Council said: “The trapping of signal crayfish can only be done on licence issued by the Environment Agency, and a condition of that licence is that all traps must have an otter guard.
“This doesn’t appear to have been done on this occasion and as a result, an otter has become caught in the net and has sadly died.
“This is extremely upsetting and a second otter at the scene was visibly distressed. Therefore we would ask anyone who has a licence to trap crayfish, to ensure they are complying with the conditions of their licence and to trap responsibly.”
The Environment Agency does not allow or licence traps in the Frome area due to the potential risk to endangered native white clawed crayfish, the only exception being for scientific monitoring by consultancies.
Otters are a protected species and it is an offence to deliberately kill, injure, disturb or capture them.
Anyone with information about this incident can provide this to police online by completing the following form and quoting incident 27 of 28 June: https://www.gloucestershire.police.uk/tua/tell-us-about/cor/tell-us-about-existing-case-report