Otters are cute, theyíre adorable, and they love to swim, eventually.
There used to be millions of otters in North America. Our ancestors, the trappers and the traders, nearly wiped them out. More recently, just as the Bronx Zoo brought back the bison from very near extinction, so too have zoos helped to bring back the otters.
Thanks to a reintroduction program beginning in 1998 in Ohio, river otters were removed from the Ohio endangered species list in 2002. The Columbus Zoo has a Conservation Fund enabling researchers in Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Peru to receive support in training young otter biologists, protecting habitat, and educating local populations about the important role otters play in wetland and coastal ecosystems.
Our first video shows three infant river otters who were born at the Columbus Zoo last March. They donít learn to swim naturally, so the next video on page 2 shows their mother giving them lessons. The last video on page 3 shows the famous scenes of otters holding hands, featuring two otters at the Vancouver Aquarium who were rescued from the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Otterly Adorable River Otters Born
Last March, three male sea otters were born at the Columbus Zoo, blind, toothless, helpless, and weighing five to six ounces. Donít worry, thatís normal.
This short silent video gives you a chance to see some very tiny animals as they are being weighed and examined by solicitous zoo employees. Go on to page 2 to see what comes next.
Photo credit: How I See the World Around Me
Otter Pups Swimming Lesson
Baby otters donít swim naturally. After they are a month or two old, their mom gives the pups lessons. First how to float, then how to paddle, and finally how to dive and move underwater. The pups may resist a little but they do have their future careers to consider.
For a touching look at two sweet older otters in the water, go to page 3.
Photo credit: NDomer73
Otters Holding Hands
Here are some heartwarming scenes of two sea otters floating on their backs and showing their love for each other by holding hands.
These two were among the few otters to survive the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. They were cleaned up and given a new home at the Vancouver Aquarium where they lived together happily for nearly twenty years.
In 2008, Nyac died of chronic leukemia, a disease previously unknown to otters but often associated with petroleum. Do you think that was a long range after effect of the oil spill?
Photo credit: dulcie