Once thriving in southern Alberta, Canada, otters were nearly wiped out as a result of hunting and habitat destruction. Fortunately, the carnivores are now making an encouraging comeback in the region.
As reported by naturalist Brian Keating, there has been an increasing number of otter sightings in Alberta and he thinks the comeback is owed to a conservation project which took place in the early 80s, aimed at reintroducing otters to the ecosystem.
After spotting a number of otter trails while cross-country skiing in Kananaskis Country, Keating decided to inquire among local wildlife enthusiasts about the otter population in the area. He then found that, in addition to his own sightings, there have been other recent reports from people seeing the mammals in the South Saskatchewan River in Medicine Hat last February.
“Years ago you might only see an otter once every five years, you know, back in the ’90s. But the fact that we’re seeing them now fairly regularly is an indication that their numbers are increasing. It looks like otters are here to stay, and with a little bit of luck, we’ll see them long into the future,” Keating said.
The increase in otter sightings in Alberta is yet another successful comeback story, indicating the benefits of conservation projects aimed at restoring ecosystem balance in areas affected by human activities.