The BBC's Points West had what was billed as a good conservation story last night, and Daphne and Belinda were in the studio to tell us all about it. Belinda was an otter and Daphne was its "owner", or so the studio hosts said. Whilst coo'ing and ooh'ing, and isn't she sweet'ing, over this hapless, un-wild creature, they kept a sensible distance. Daphne finished up wearing Belinda as an on the shoulder accessory – just as my long-gone grandmother did her dead fox (head, feet, brush and all). I watched this with an emotion bordering on disgust.
Apparently there was a good news story here about otters returning to the West's rivers, but rather than go out and film (or take shots from their considerable archive), the BBC took the cheap (in both senses) option and decided on a chat show interview. There was a man there from Bristol Zoo as well, also keeping his distance from Belinda / Daphne, whilst reinforcing the positive conservation story. The irony was that some sensible and important things were said about what the public should / shouldn't do in the countryside, but why did it need a circus to get these points across?