A plucky otter cub experienced something of a festive miracle when it was rescued from a bin the day before Christmas in Durham.
The otter, named Eve, was suffering with hypothermia when it was discovered in a bin by a member of the public.
After being taken to a vet, the RSPCA took Eve into their care before moving it to its Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre in Cheshire.
The young mammal was slowly warmed up and given fluids as well as being hand reared with kitten milk and fish on its road to recovery.
Once fully rehabilitated, Eve will return to the wild.
“It appears that someone found the tiny otter cub and because she was so cold thought she was dead so discarded her in a bin,” said inspector Steph Baines.
“Then another member of the public later noticed some movement so rushed her to a nearby vets.
“She was suffering from hypothermia due to the cold and had to be warmed up slowly and then she was given fluids and hand-reared with kitten milk mixed with fish every two hours and started to recover from her ordeal.
“We decided to name her Eve as she was found on Christmas Eve.”
Lee Stewart, manager at Stapeley Grange, said: “It is always very exciting to have an otter cub with us as up until the 1980s they were struggling in the wild.
“They weren’t protected by legislation until 1978, at which point numbers were low, but over time their numbers have steadily increased and they have made a comeback in most counties in the UK.
“As a result we are seeing more being brought into Stapeley Grange.
“Otter rehabilitation is very specialised and you need to have suitable facilities to care for them. Young otter cubs can be with us for up to 12 months before they can be returned to the wild so their care is not only time consuming but expensive.”
To find out more about Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre and its fundraising efforts, visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/RSPCAStapeleyGrangeWildlife.