A HEART-RENDING video shows an orphaned otter cub lying next to its dead mother after she was run over by a car.
The five-month-old otter was so distressed that animal shelter staff decided to let it stay with its mother’s body overnight.
The cub, called Gonfirth, is seen in the video lying close to the body after the pair were taken to Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary, Shetland, last night (thur).
The distressing images were released by the centre in a bid to cut the number of otters killed on the roads each year.
Gonfirth, named after a loch on the island, was discovered next to its mother at the side of the A970 between Aith and Voe.
When the two women picked up the dead otter to put it inside a dog cage in their car, Gonfirth ran after them and jumped in next to its mother.
Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary today (fri) said it was one of the most “heartbreaking scenarios” they have ever faced.
Jan Bevington, who founded the sanctuary in 1987, today (fri) said: “It’s just such a tragic situation. When the cub arrived it was just in complete and utter distress and was wailing in shock.
“When the women called me, I said to put them both in the dog carrier and the cub just followed its mother in.
“We think it’s the best way to let the cub leave its mother naturally and didn’t want to stress the cub out anymore. The stress from what happened to its mother could have been really bad for the cub.
“We’re in the ‘land of the otter’ over here at the moment so there are just so many around at this time of year. They’re very slinky animals too and they’re amazing in the water but they’re not too fast on land.
“They’ve been traveling further out to find food now and it’s that time of year for them.
“I’m sure nobody means to do anything to them but we are hoping that drivers can slow down and watch out for them.
“The tragic part is we’ve been told of another otter that has been killed not far from where these ones were found.”
The sanctuary posted about the cub on Facebook last night, writing: “One of the most heartbreaking scenarios we have ever faced has come our way this evening.
“Two young women, Carolyn and Lauren, found a dead female otter on the side of the road at the Grobsness junction between Aith and Voe tonight.
“ The mother’s cub was beside her…and still alive! They phoned us to ask for advice. By extraordinary coincidence Carolyn had her dog cage in the car with her so we suggested they put the mother into the cage and as we had hoped, the youngster simply followed her in.
“We drove to Voe and collected the tragic pair and have brought them north to the sanctuary. We’ve left the cub, who must be at least five months old, with its mother overnight in our otter unit with a couple of fish and a tub of rainwater. It’s a truly sad sight to see the cub lying on its mother looking completely lost and forlorn.
“We’re sad to say there was another otter killed this morning near the Stromfirth junction on the main road by Wadbister. No sign of cubs that we know of. Please, please drivers – watch out for otters on the roads!”
Gonfirth was given two haddock and rainwater last night which it ate straight away and will be staying at the sanctuary until it’s well enough to go back out into the wild.
Jan added: “It ate the lot overnight. That’s a good sign, though it also means it’s very hungry and hunger might be why the mother was wandering the hills of Shetland with her cub.
“The otter will also be extremely stressed after losing its mother, and that may yet take its toll, especially when we remove its mother from the pen today, so we’re not out of the woods yet.”
Last month an otter cub called Louie died at the sanctuary after it was brought into them by the SSPCA.
Yesterday (thur) three otters were found dead in just one day on the island.