Adding to our holiday cheer here at the South River Federation, we are thrilled to report that river otters have returned to the South River.
The federation has been receiving reports of river otter sightings throughout the river. The photos that accompany this story were taken just this week of three otters frolicking around the headwaters near Flat Creek.
We have had other reports of sightings in Duvall Bay, Edgewater Beach, Sylvan Shores, and Harbor Hills. The population of North American river otters (Lontra canadensis) has suffered significant losses largely due to habitat loss, but also to pollution and trapping.
To see a comeback of the river otter in the South River is truly an exciting moment.
As a strict carnivore, the river otter is an excellent indicator of ecosystem health. Over time, pollutants such as mercury and PCBs that are retained in the otter's food can accumulate in their system in a process known as biomagnification.
If the water quality is too poor, the otters cannot survive. If you spot one of the fun loving, playful, and smart creatures, take a moment to observe them. However, RIVERKEEPER ®, Diana Muller cautions to not touch or go near them as with any wildlife.
Having been fortunate enough to see one herself, Diana Muller will be keeping track of all river otter sightings as well as beaver sightings. If you are lucky enough to see one of these adorable creatures, please send us the date, time, and GPS location of the sighting.
If you are able to take pictures, please do share them on the South River Federation's webpage.