A DOZEN sets of binoculars have been stolen from a Scottish nature trail opened as a tribute to the late TV wildlife presenter Terry Nutkins,.
The Terry Nutkins Memorial Nature Trail, part of the Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary in Oban, Argyll, opened in April.
The walk on the banks of Loch Creran honours the Really Wild Show host who died in September from leukaemia.
Staff at the sanctuary said they were “dismayed” after binoculars kept in birdwatching hides for families to watch nature on the loch and at feeding stations were stolen. They were chained to the waterside hides, but have been removed one at a time since the trail opened.
Manager Craig Connor said: “Since the nature trail opened in April we have lost 12 sets of binoculars. They were chained to the hides, but people have managed to break or cut the chains.After the first few went missing we upgraded the metal chains, but it has made little difference and the rate they are being stolen is alarming.
“We are a family attraction and this is a memorial trail dedicated to the late Terry Nutkins, who was such a popular figure and who helped raise awareness of wildlife, so it is very disappointing people would want to ruin it for others.”
The Terry Nutkins Memorial Nature Trail, which has been backed by the late naturalist’s family, takes visitors through a signposted landscape featuring pine martens, deer, seals, otters, frogs, badgers and bats.
Daughter Amanda Nutkins, 31, said when the trail opened: “It is a lovely tribute and we think he would have loved it. My father was a great supporter of the Sea Life Sanctuary over the years, and he always enjoyed going there. Our family all thought the nature trail was a lovely idea.”
Nutkins lived nearby in Glenelg, and moved to Scotland aged 12. He spent much of his childhood helping Scottish naturalist Gavin Maxwell care for African otters. Maxwell’s work was made famous by his book Ring of Bright Water, and in his follow-up, The Rocks Remain, he recounted the incident in which Nutkins, aged 15, lost part of two fingers to an otter called Edal.
A spokesman for Sea Life said: “Terry was a great friend of the Sea Life network, and helped open seal and otter facilities at Oban. He inspired not only millions of youngsters, but also many of our staff.”