We were delighted to hear the news that Dave Webb, Caretaker at West Buckland, is to be recognised with a special award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) at the House of Lords, honouring his dedication to protecting otters and publicising their plight.
Dave admitted that his passion for British wildlife began as a child when, after being bullied at school, he would play truant and seek solace with nature in the woods near his home. A chance encounter with an otter in a local river inspired him to read up on this enigmatic animal and this in turn led him to a lifetime’s dedication to helping protect the species.
Working actively to protect otters for more than 40 years, Dave is the founder of registered charity the UK Wild Otter Trust which works with the angling community and fishing industry to dispel myths about the otter being a pest to fish and tries to stop cruelty and persecution of the otter. Dave works hard to educate river users, commercial fisheries and the general public about the importance of the otter to the river eco-system.
In recent years Dave has successfully secured the UK’s first humane trapping licence for otters from Natural England, enabling him and other members of the UK Wild Otter Trust to humanely trap and move otters when absolutely necessary to another area of river.
Headmaster, Phillip Stapleton, said, “We are obviously absolutely delighted that a lifetime of dedication to otters and other British wildlife, is being honoured in this way. Dave has selflessly devoted his time and energies into protection, welfare and education and we applaud his invaluable work.”