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Camera snaps otter in Pembrokeshire survey

The otter took a liking to pond fish. Credit: Ella Black

An otter has been snapped in Pembrokeshire as part of a county-wide survey of the animals.

Solva resident Ella Black set up a camera after half the fish in her pond disappeared one night in September.

The intrepid animal's 'caused quite a stir' in the village. Credit: Ella Black

The National Park Authority teamed up with Pembrokeshire Marine Special Area of Conservation (SAC) Officer Sue Burton in late 2013 to ask people to report coastal otter sightings for a county-wide research project.

Since then more than 130 sightings have been logged at Oriel y Parc Gallery and Visitor Centre in St Davids, with each sighting marked with a pin on a special map, showing how they are distributed around the Pembrokeshire Coast.

We’ve received a number of sightings from people surfing, kayaking or swimming off the coast, but the photo and video evidence captured in Solva shows otters are also exploring the areas around the coast as they search for food.

– Ian Meopham, National Park Authority Ranger

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Tree felling underway to tackle larch disease

A south Wales attraction is due to close this weekend while Natural Resources Wales deal with larch disease in the area.

Forest Drive, a stretch of road through Cwmcarn Forest, will close to allow felling teams to carry out large-scale tree felling to remove over 50,000 tonnes of infected timber and forestry.

Around 1,300 hectares of larch trees have now been cut down in a bid to keep the disease in check and limit the damage Credit: ITV

The rest of the attraction however, including a visitor centre, play areas, footpaths and mountain bike trails, will remain open.

The difficult decision to close the drive has been taken as the road will be used throughout the works by large forestry machinery and to transport felled trees out of the forest.

No decision has been made about the future of Forest Drive yet as it will require considerable investment to repair following the felling and haulage operations.

However, Natural Resources Wales is keen to reopen it if feasible and staff will be exploring all possible funding options to do this.

– Natural Resources Wales

More protection for island habitats welcomed

Skomer is home to puffins and other species. Credit: Suzy Harrison/PA Images

RSPB Cymru is welcoming more protection for habitats at three key sites for seabirds.

The sites are RSPB Grassholm, The Wildlife Trusts of South and West Wales islands of Skomer and Skokholm and Bardsey Island, which is managed by the Bardsey Island Trust.

The move, announced by the Welsh Government means that between 2 – 9 km of the seas around the islands are now protected by law.

Skomer is described as a photgrapher's paradise. Credit: David Jones/PA Archive/PA Images

The Society says the sites will contribute to the network of protected special sites helping seabird colonies to be healthier and more resilient to other issues like the effects of climate change.

The seas around islands like these are so important for our seabirds as these are where the birds socialise. Birds like gannets, Manx shearwaters and puffins, will use areas like this for preening, bathing and displaying.

– Gareth Cunningham RSPB Cymru Marine Policy Officer
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