Since the year 1988, the Otter-Zentrum is located on the southern edge of the Lüneburg Heath. The initiator of the centre and founder of the Fischotterschutz eV Claus Reuther was previously involved in the otter research enclosure Oderhaus in the Harz and committed himself to the research of domestic animals, which are less known than most of the African animals.
As a recognised conservation association, the association not only takes care of the existence of the threatened species of the otter, but also tries to give the rivers their natural shape back by buying and leasing river plots. The rivers are then sold with conditions, so that the otter can settle again. Furthermore, research is conducted at the center, but this is an inaccessible area to the visitors.
Around 100,000 visitors come to the park every year. During the 2-3 hour tour you can learn a lot of interesting facts. In addition to countless, mostly quite creative, game and information opportunities on the edge of the trails, the animal care takers answer a lot of your questions (in particular at the times of feeding). In contrast to other zoos this happens with a certain commitment, even if there are only a few people in the park.
In addition to the eponymous otter, there are several other, related or historically related, animals in the Otter-Zentrum. Thus, in addition to badgers, martens, ermines, polecats, and minks, there is the otter dog which basically only exists due to otter hunting being very popular in England a few hundred years ago.
The very natural enclosures are all exceptionally large and have enough retreat for the animals. In addition to elevated grandstands, there are some tunnels from which you can watch the animals from. Particularly noteworthy here is the enclosure of the tree marten, which gives you not only a wonderful view of the action under and in the trees, but also is the only one of its kind in Europe.
The Otter-Zentrum is a kind of special zoo and thus one of the most beautiful destinations in the south of the Lüneburg Heath. During the season there are numerous events and actions around the center. In the warmer months there is also the possibility to discover the neighbouring lake by boat, or to cool down in the forest pool or at the water playground. Also for the physical well-being is taken care of and thus the Otter-Zentrum in Hankensbüttel offers enough possibilities to spend half or even a whole day here with the otters.