Otter. Daniel Allen.

London: Reaktion Books, 2010. Octavo, paperback, colour and black and white illustrations.

Although rarely seen in the wild, the otter is admired for its playful character and graceful aquatic agility, which were established in the popular imagination through books and films such as Tarka the Otter and Ring of Bright Water. This, however, is just a small part of their story - throughout history the otter has also been widely hunted for its fur and to prevent it from killing fish. In Otter, Daniel Allen reveals how the animal's identity has been shaped by human interactions. Otters, while feared by some communities, were hunted to near extinction by others - killed for their valuable pelts in the north Pacific and chased with hounds for sport in Britain. In contrast, some Native Americans revered the otter and fishermen in parts of Asia trained otters to assist them. Sadly, all thirteen species of otter are now considered threatened, and their survival is by no means certain. This wide-ranging book includes anecdotes from folklore, sports and popular literature, as well as exploring the movement against otter hunting and the ongoing efforts towards the otter's conservation.
Otter is a lively book that offers a new way of thinking about this much-loved but endangered animal.

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