An otter found dead in a fishing net has sparked a wildlife crime investigation in Dumfries and Galloway.
A member of the public found the animal’s corpse on the banks of Loch Ken near Parton, at around 2pm on June 28.
The adult otter was caught in a fyke net, which police said appears to have been set to catch crayfish in the river.
It is illegal to lay traps or nets in fresh water lochs without a permit in Scotland.
Otters are also a European protected species, and it is against the law to deliberately or recklessly capture, injure or kill an otter in Scotland.
PC John Cowan, Wildlife Crime Liaison Officer, said: “It is illegal to set a fyke net or attempt to catch crayfish without a license which can put other local wildlife at risk.
“Otters will enter these nets to take advantage of an easy meal and can become trapped and drown, which is sadly what happened in this instance.
“We are working closely with the Loch Ken Ranger Service to identify whoever is responsible, but are also asking for the public’s help to assist us in our enquiries.
“If you have any information on the net or anything else you think might be relevant, please contact police via 101, quoting incident 2743 of June 28.”