Help us celebrate 25 years of caring for injured and orphaned otters by supporting our campaign to build new pens & treatment space.

The International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF) was established twenty five years ago. It is one of the world's leading otter charities and the only charity in the UK dedicated to the conservation, protection and care of otters.

We are based on the Isle of Skye where we run a sanctuary for orphaned and injured otters. The sanctuary was built in 1993 and, although it has served its purpose well, the facilities now need to be upgraded.  To celebrate our 25th anniversary we are launching a campaign to raise the money for a new treatment area and pens.

At the moment our cubs start indoors in a cub unit. They then move to an outdoor nursery pen and then to large croft pens. In the picture above you can see one of our current residents, Sofi, exploring her new croft pen. To move otters from the nursery pen to the croft pen we have to catch them, which is stressful for animals and the humans involved! The new facility will have a purpose built new building, including sleeping boxes, which open out into the nursery pen, which then opens again into a larger croft pen. This means that once an otter is moved from the cub unit we shouldn't need to catch it again to move it.

In the new building we will also have treatment room and space to prepare food including a new fridge and freezer (we get through a lot of fish!). We will also be able to close off each enclosure separately, so that if we do need to catch an otter for treatment or release it will be much easier. Below is a plan of the new layout.

To complete this work and buy a new fridge and freezer to store food and medicines we need to raise a total of £20,159 by the spring, so we can start work as soon as the weather improves.

This is the most ambitious fundraising campaign we have undertaken and every donation, however small, will make a real difference for the animals in our care. We also need your help to share the campaign with friends and family and on social media by clicking  the Twitter and Facebook buttons. To reach our target we'll need around 800 donations so it's vital we reach as many people as possible.

We'll be posting updates on the sanctuary and the otters as the campaign progresses and if you'd like to post a comment on our page we'd love to hear from you.

Thank you so much

Paul & Grace

Make a difference

We need to raise a total of £20,159 for new a new building and pens, this is how it breaks down; Building £13,700, Foundation £2,800, Fencing £1,300, Posts £200, Electricity £980, Plumbing £850, Fridge £129, Freezer £200. Total £20,159

How success will be measured

We want to start building works in the spring and move the otters in their new accommodation by autumn 2018 before winter sets in. Once the work is complete they will benefit from larger runs and reduced stress from handling. The new treatment area and storage will also make it easier for us to look after them.

Ask a question

Find us in Isle of Skye

Donation Summary

Total Raised


Online Donations


Offline Donations


Your comments

  • International Otter Survival Fund 28 March 2018 Reply
    Thanks for your kind words and your support. We really appreciate it. People like you are so important to our work with the otters.
  • Sheila Miller 16 March 2018 Reply
    Great work educating people about Otters and for all your hard work to save and release Otters back to the wild. Amazing what you have achieved during the last 25 years. My honour to donate and aid you in your quest for a better future. Thank you Shei
    • Reply by International Otter Survival Fund 26 April 2018
      Thanks Sheila not just for your financial support and for your caring for otters. This is also a great encouragement to us. Grace
Post a new comment
  • 20 Jun 2019

    New Otter Rescue Facilities

    Our new otter facilities are now almost complete. It has taken longer than we had hoped due to inevitable bureaucracy and hold-ups because of the weather. The enclosures are almost finished – we are just waiting for the pools to be delivered and put in. The pens will have to be left vacant for a few weeks to allow the grass to grow and then they will be ready for their first occupant. The sleeping boxes are in the building and the otters will enter them through a pipe. We now have to finish the food preparation, area. Until now the otters have had to be moved at each stage but the new enclosures include both the nursery and pre-release pens separated by a gate. So in future, the cubs will move to a nursery pen and when they are ready the gate will be opened to allow them access into the larger pen as well. They will continue to use the same sleeping box and, when it comes to release, we will simply close them back in which makes catching them easier. We are very grateful to all who have contributed to our Wildcrowd appeal for their kind support of our work which will greatly improve conditions for the otters for many years to come.

  • 8 Jun 2018

    All change

    There have been a lot of changes recently and the most exciting one is that both Sofi and Noelle are back in the wild. Sofi was released about a month ago and you can see a photo of her exploring her new home. After a while of doing this she disappeared into a hole in the bank so we backed off. Noelle was supposed to go then too but she refused to be caught. The otters had dug themselves a little hideaway in the bank of the pool and although we caught Sofi we just couldn't get Noelle. Finially after a month we got her and she too is now back in the wild where she belongs. If only we could explain that if they get in the carrying box they will soon be in a wonderful place, but they don't understand! Noelle, was as awkward as ever, so we didn't manage to get any good photos of her release, but it was so beautiful to watch her swimming under the water. The other otters are all doing very well. Both Uisge and Mel are very private and we rarely see them. Aeris and Beatha are mischievous little creatures. Because the weather is hot now we have to put the hose on their pool each day and they absolutely love that. They chase each other in and out of the water and it is brilliant to hide and watch them play. Plans are coming on for our new facilities which will make such a difference. We have obviously been caring for these otters but the new enclosures and building will be much better for both the otters and ourselves. And we shouldn't have the problems of catching an otter for release which doesn't want to be caught! So to everyone who has contributed we want to say a HUGE thank you. If you want to keep following our progress you can go to our website and sign up to our regular e-updates. And thank you too to Wildcrowd for giving us this opportunity to raise the funds to make this a reality.

  • 26 Apr 2018

    Mel moves out

    Mel has now moved out into the nursery pen vacated by Uisge. Here you can see him investigating his new home and the pool - not too sure about that much water! But he has been in the pool and seems quite confident.

  • 24 Apr 2018

    Uisge moves

    Uisge is now a big boy and so this morning we moved him up to a croft pen, where he has more room and a nice pool. As you can see he was quick to explore and enjoy the water. This afternoon, we will move Mel out to the nursery pen vacated by Uisge. He has grown so much. We have now received 6 cubs in 2018 so the new facilities are getting more urgent. Thanks for all the support you have given so far. We have arranged for someone to come and quote for building the new them so hope to start things moving soon.

  • 27 Mar 2018

    Meet Mel

    Little Mel arrived with us on Saturday. He had been found crying in a garden in the Scottish Borders and was taken to the Arthurshiel Animal Rescue Centre. Shona at the centre has had otters before and so knew how to look after him until he could be transferred to us on Skye. Mel is certainly a very fiery character. He may look very cute but he has a definite temper! This is good to see as we want him to remain wild so that he can be released when he is ready. In the meantime he has been tucking into his salmon and is now starting to take fish tails. Many thanks to everyone who is supporting our work with the otters and the provision of the new facilities.

  • 6 Mar 2018

    Beatha and Aeris

    The whole country seems to have ground to a halt with the snow but our otters on the croft are loving it. We missed the worst of it but it has been freezing and their pool has frozen over. But they don't seem to mind And they have a sleeping box full of hay to keep them warm. During the little warmer spell we had we moved Uisge out to a nursery pen but he has a heated sleeping area. He can explore more during the day but in this cold weather we lock him in to be safe. We had thought of putting Uisge and Beatha together but he has grown so quickly and so we decided to introduce Beatha and Aeris to each other instead. Immediately they became the best of pals as you can see in the photo - Aeris the the one underneath and I'm sure you will be impressed with how much they have grown. Both are tucking into their fish and once the weather warms up again we will put them out to a nursery pen. Many thanks for your continued support.

  • 15 Feb 2018

    Aeris arrives

    On Monday we had a snowy journey to Crianlarich to pick up a cub which had traveled all the way from Cumbria. She had been cared for by Sarah Neill, a lecturer in Animal Care and Animal Management at Kendal College, which is the first college in the country to open a genuine wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre on site. Sarah has helped us many times and brought cubs to us, and we always know they will get the best of care until the travel up to Skye. Aeris, the new cub, had a very quiet journey and slept the whole way. We stopped to make frequent checks but all was peaceful. This isn't always the case and I can remember a trip also from Crianlarich with THREE screaming otters in the back! Three hours of torture for both us and them I feel. But when those three arrived at the sanctuary they calmed down and they were eventually released back to the wild. In the meantime, Uisge and Beatha are growing fast. Uisge is particularly big and really needs to go out to an outside enclosure but with the weather so cold we can't do that. Hopefully it will improve soon and he can enjoy the bigger space. So thanks to everyone who is supporting our campaign - it means a lot to us and the otters.

  • 5 Feb 2018

    Uisge and Beatha

    We thought you would like to see the attached photo of Uisge (left) and Beatha (right). They are both doing so well and even though Beatha is still quite a bit smaller than Uisge, they are both eating three whole fish per day! And these are big fish! We are hoping to be able to get at least Uisge into an outside cub pen soon and Beatha will join him in a little while. We are also waiting on the arrival of two more youngsters - one is due to arrive from North Uist in the Outer Hebrides on Wednesday afternoon, and the other is from northern England and plans are for it to come next week. So all in all it is very busy with cubs just now. We would like to thank everyone who has supported us so far in working towards our improved facilities

  • 17 Jan 2018

    Update on Sofi and Noelle

    The weather yesterday was absolutely beautiful - freezing cold with snow on the hills but there wasn't a cloud in the sky. So I took the chance to try and get some photos of our older otters, Sofi and Noelle, when I went up to feed them. Both otters have been very active in collecting bedding and so they are hungry! Noelle took her first fish and ran off to eat it, before reappearing for more with the fish tail hanging from her mouth! Sofi, was even worse! She took a fish away and then sneaked back to steal another one from the bucket when I wasn't looking:

  • 12 Jan 2018

    New Arrival Beatha

    Following our update yesterday about the arrival of two new otters at the sanctuary, We thought you'd like to see this picture of Beatha enjoying her bottle! We've now raised £6305 of our £20,000 target for re-building our otter accommodation, so thank you so much if you've already donated.

  • 11 Jan 2018

    New cubs at the centre

    Just before New Year we received two new cubs, which were not related. The first, a male, came from Kilchoan, on the Ardnamurchan peninsula, and was named Uisge (Gaelic for "water"). The second a much smaller female was named Beatha (Gaelic for "life"). Uisge Beatha is therefore Gaelic for "water of life" - which is the name for Whisky! Beatha has been on a bottle and is just in the process of weaning. She went off her milk and started on salmon soup and now she is starting to tackle fish tails. Uisge was already on solid foods when he arrived. Meanwhile in the croft pens, the two otters are enjoying some lovely winter weather. It is freezing with snow on the hills but the skies are blue and cloudless. They have been taking in rushes as bedding to keep themselves warm and we can see where they play on the ice in their pond. Sofi is a really naughty animal and will quickly try to nick a fish out of the bucket if your back is turned! Meanwhile Noelle tucks into her fish, watched over by a crow waiting for any scraps.

  • 4 Dec 2017

    An invader!

    Last Friday we spotted a wild otter running up the croft towards our otter pens. I guess it could smell either the fish or the otters in the enclosures. We have had this before and one particular individual was digging frantically on the outside trying to get in! This is why it is so important to make sure the wire is well buried so that they can't dig out or in! We also had one occasion where a wild otter climbed over the fence into the enclosure - the fencing is designed to keep otters in, not to keep them out! When we went up to feed we looked in to the sleeping box and instead of two otters found three! The intruder was not welcomed by the others and they gave him a sore nose for his troubles, because obviously he coultn't get out again! So we had to get him out and look after him until he recovered. There's always something unexpected when you work with otters. That's what makes them fascinating.

  • 14 Oct 2017

    Campaign started

International Otter Survival Fund

Charity Reg No: SC003875

Wildlife charity helping the 13 species of otter worldwide. We want to protect otters so that future generations to come can enjoy one of the world’s most charming, elusive and enjoyable mammals. The IOSF aims to work with local communities throughout the world to educate, inform and encourage the protection and conservation of otters. Through a programme of research, the IOSF will become the world’s foremost authority on otter behaviour, habitat, persecution and conservation. We want people throughout the world to be as appalled by Otter persecution and hunting as we are towards Tiger and Rhino hunting. We would like to educate people to the benefits of Otters, what healthy populations mean for the environment and dispel myths that are causing Otters to be intentionally disturbed, persecuted and hunted.

Contact charity


£20527 donated of £20159 target
202 donors

New nursery and croft pens for our otters and a new treatment area

Donate now!


Donate £5
or more

Rewards left: 43

15% off delicious chocolates from Vegan Town

Donate £5
or more

Rewards left: 28

15% off Wheesht Face Masks

Donate £8
or more

Rewards left: 39

Grow your own wildflowers with 20% off from Seedball

Donate £10
or more

Rewards left: 27

15% off 32 beeswax tea lights from Gold&Black

Donate £10
or more

Rewards left: 48

10% off your stay at The Oxford Studios and a free bottle of wine!

Donate £15
or more

Rewards left: 28

20% off any purchase from Izzy Lane (gorgeous knits, throws and doggy accessories)

Donate £30
or more

Rewards left: 33

Free vegetable bag and Hen Nation eggs from Farmaround