AN abandoned baby otter cub found stunned and disorientated on a road had a lucky escape after being run over.
A local Coniston resident mistakenly drove over the 10-week-old animal – luckily positioned between the car wheels – before he realised what it was.
The man waited for the return of the cub’s mother, but with no sign of her, telephoned the International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF) for help.
The welfare charity contacted Lakes Aquarium employee Sarah Neill, 30, from Grange-over-Sands, who cared for two lost otter pups ‘Bubble’ and ‘Squeak’ found separated from their mother this time last year.
Sarah, who is also a marine mammal medic for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, decided to name the baby otter ‘Conrad’.
She said: “I feel very privileged to be caring for Conrad and honoured that the IOSF entrusted me with his care. It is such a special thing to do.”
Sarah is tasked with nursing Conrad back to health, before he is taken to an otter sanctuary on the Isle of Skye on December 20.
“I keep him warm in a nest box, and have to feed him warm lactose free milk every four hours throughout the day and night,” she said.
“Because he doesn’t have his mum or any siblings, he relies on me a lot more for attention and company.
“He whistles to call to me if he needs something, whether it’s to go to the toilet or simply just for a cuddle.
“It is like having a baby.”
Since Conrad was rescued on November 22, he has gained 1lb – half of his initial body weight.
Booths in Kendal has also ‘sponsored’ the cub by donating five large trout to help with the recovery period.
In a year’s time, Conrad will be released close to where he was found.
The exact location is being kept secret for the protection of other otters in the area.
Sarah said: “I am sure I will miss him when he goes to the IOSF sanctuary, but it's important that he is taught how to be a wild otter as he grows.
“I am really looking forward to seeing him fully rehabilitated so that we can return him back into the wild where he belongs.”