River Otters Are the New Comeback Kids
When wildlife biologist Andrew Rutter, who studied river otters at Southern Illinois University, came to Lake County in 2016 he did not expect to see much action. Nearly wiped out from trapping, habitat destruction, and poor water quality in the early 1900s, River otters were listed as endangered in Illinois in 1989. At that time, only about 100 otters existed in Illinois. After a three-year reintroduction effort began in 1994, where 346 otters were released in central and southern Illinois, the otter population rebounded. Delisted by 2004, their population was estimated to be 30,000 in 2014 according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
According to Rutter, river otters have been able to adapt to the urban landscape including Lake County as well as Cook County where otters have been spotted in the Chicago River near downtown Chicago. For more information, find the original article from Lake County News-Sun.
Continue reading: WMC_newsletter_may2018
Kate Keets VM2021
WMC Conservation Chair