• 1.
    A survey is presented of PCB and organochlorine pesticide concentrations in otter (Lutra lutra) spraints (faeces) from 18 catchments/sub-catchments in Wales and adjacent English counties.
  • 2.
    There were wide differences in concentrations of lindane, dieldrin, DDE and PCBs between catchments and at sites within catchments. Only PCBs were considered likely to be of significance in influencing otter populations. Mean PCB concentrations (but not those of dieldrin and DDE) were inversely related to otter population performance (as measured by both catchment distribution and sprainting intensity) between catchments.
  • 3.
    It is suggested that PCB contamination is exerting a negative impact on otter populations in four catchments, while there is concern over four others. A study of food chain contamination should be an essential component of otter conservation strategies at both the national and local level.