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Mass otter release planned on Dartmoor for summer 2017!

November 1, 2016 | News

Dartmoor National Park seeks sponsors for new public art initiative

The Chinese zodiac may say rooster but on Dartmoor 2017 is set to be the year of the otter, as Dartmoor National Park launches a new public arts initiative to celebrate the incredible diversity of habitats and wildlife on the Moor and raise important funds to enhance visitor experiences and protect these amazing natural wonders.

Moor Otters is a series of 100 unique pieces of art that will be displayed in accessible public areas around Dartmoor and the gateway towns during the summer of 2017. Each three-foot tall resin otter sculpture will be designed and decorated by a different artist, and will portray the artist’s own interpretations of wildlife and conservation issues.

Visitors to Dartmoor will be encouraged to explore the trail between June and September next year, with a dedicated website and trail map available. The artworks will then be auctioned off at live and online auctions.

Dartmoor National Park is encouraging regional businesses to get involved in this unique opportunity to support this iconic landscape and enhance the experiences of those who visit it by sponsoring an otter. Platinum packages are available for £1,000, alongside other options for smaller business. Sponsors receive 25 words and a company logo on the accompanying plaque, as well as a range of other high profile promotional opportunities over the next 12 months, dependent on the level of sponsorship.

The project aims to raise £100,000 in sponsorship and sales, which will be used for projects to conserve and enhance Dartmoor’s landscape and wildlife, as well as improve access for everybody. The money will also help develop Dartmoor’s Young Ranger programme, which supports educational access and engages young people in conservation projects, creating the conservationists of the future.

Dave Southern, Moor Otters project manager, commented: “This truly will be a major milestone in the history of Dartmoor National Park. Never before have we launched a public arts initiative on this scale and the support we’ve had so far has been overwhelming.

“We’ve got a high profile campaign planned that will allow partners and sponsors to showcase the fantastic support they’re giving to Dartmoor over the next 12 months, and we’re confident our sponsors will benefit immensely from the awareness, publicity and goodwill value generated by the project. We’d encourage anyone who’s interested in joining us on this exiting journey to get in touch as soon as possible so as not to miss out on the many opportunities to be associated with all the upcoming milestones and events over the 12 months.”

Partners already on board with the project include the Western Morning News as a media partner and Absolute PR & Marketing as marketing communications consultants, as well as Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers, Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood.

Businesses interested in sponsoring an otter should contact Dave Southern on 07491 925157 or email

Artists and artist groups keen to put forward creative designs for individual otters are encouraged to submit their designs to on or before 11th November 2016.

Further information on the project may be found at

Why otters?

It may not seem the most obvious fit with Dartmoor but in reality, otters have a long history with the National Park and it currently provides an important stronghold for the globally threatened and protected species. Otters use Dartmoor’s rivers but also venture on to other habitats including Dartmoor’s blanket bogs where they search for food.

In fact, Dartmoor is home to over 50% of Britain’s population of globally threatened species. These include: Greater Horseshoe Bat, Blue Ground Beetle, Bog Hoverfly and Flax-leaved St John’s-wort. There are also nationally important populations of Dormouse, Cirl Bunting, High Brown Fritillary, Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Marsh Fritillary, Freshwater Shrimp and Deptford Pink within the National Park.

Moor Otters is designed not only to highlight these beautiful creatures who call the Moor their home, but also shine a spotlight on all the other endangered wildlife found on Dartmoor that don’t necessarily enjoy a high public profile.