HEATHER Davies asks what can be done about otters that are preying on the fish in her garden pond (Plea for help with otters, Letters,).

Sadly, nothing! As with badgers that dig up bodies in cemeteries, and bats, which are ruining medieval churches with their urine and droppings, these creatures are considered somehow 'sacred' and protected by law.

During the 1950s, as a boy, I followed the Hawkstone and Wye Valley Otter Hounds, along the rivers of Herefordshire and Worcestershire, and they controlled the numbers of otters, while ensuring that they were never wiped out, and the fittest survived.

Then, during the 1960s and 1970s, the use of organophosphate sprays had a drastic effect on the otter population, and it was the hunts that first drew government attention to the problem.

Otter hunting, which had placed a voluntary ban on killing the creatures, was banned, as was the use of the lethal pesticides that poisoned wildlife.

However, otter numbers have now increased to pest proportions, along with badgers, deer and rabbits, and measures should be taken to reduce them to manageable populations, otherwise other wildlife suffers from predation.

W KERSWELL Picklescott, Church Stretton