A fisherman from Corby says an otter is responsible for carnage at a boating lake which has seen a number of huge carp killed in the past 10 days.
Zak Taylor, 30, has been fishing at Corby Boating Lake, off Cottingham Road, since he was about seven years old.
However, in recent days he said he has found the remains of a number of carp, some weighing between 15 and 20lbs, which have been caught and partly eaten by what he believes is an otter.
Otters are a protected species and heritage body Natural England is attempting to increase their numbers across the UK.
But Zak says that the suspected otter which may have recently made its home near the boating lake could easily destroy the carp population there.
He added: “The fishermen here love the carp. We put them back after we catch them and some have been in the lake for 10 or 12 years.
“Carp are fairly big and slow and they are probably easy for the otter to catch.”
Zak said he believes an otter is taking the fish, rather than another animal like a mink, because otters only eat the soft organs of the fish, behind the head, and leave most of the body intact.
A friend of Zak’s who knows more about the creatures has also seen telltale tracks in the snow near the boating lake.
He said: “I don’t mind seeing otters in the right environment, but the one here is causing a lot of problems.”
Zak’s mum Sue has already contacted Corby Council but was told the council would need more proof that the culprit is definitely an otter before they could take any action.
She added: “Zak’s at his wit’s end with it all.
“It might sound silly to some people but he and the other fishermen love the boating lake. It isn’t just a case of putting more fish in because some of those carp have been in the lake for years and years.
“Also, if an otter has cubs, they can become quite aggressive. If a child or someone’s dog happens to be walking near where the otter is nesting, there is a chance it could attack them.”
Mrs Taylor said she believes the otter could be living near to the boating lake but not adjacent to it, because of where one of the dead fish was found.
Natural England supplies licences to capture otters safely, but does not provide manpower to carry out the task. Otters, once caught, have to be taken to a watercourse at least 50 miles away from where they were found before they can be released.
Kim Buzzard, spokesman for Corby Council, said: “Last week we found evidence that there could be an otter or mink in the Boating Lake area.
“We have since been in touch with both the Environment Agency and Natural England for advice and have had our own environmental health officers down to investigate.
“We have continued to monitor the Boating Lake over the weekend and throughout the week and have not seen any further evidence that an otter or mink is still in the area.
“We are therefore continuing to monitor the Boating Lake to establish if any animal remains, and if so identify it in order for us to take any appropriate measures.”
Do you think you have seen the otter? If so, contact the Telegraph newsdesk on 01536 506163.