Visit The Wildlife Rehabilitation
Center and Otter Habitat located near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Learn about an Otter legend from
the Cree Indians
Judy Berg describe Otter slides
From North America ? Check
out where otters can be seen in captivity
Come back to learn more about North American River Otters - like "Minnesota"
shown above from the John Ball Zoo in Michigan ! (Photo courtesy Jan
By Tracy Johnston
Exxon Valdez: The Impact
At a recent symposium marking the 10th anniversary of the 1989 Exxon
Valdez oil spill, marine biologists from the University of California
Santa Cruz reported only nine of the 37 rescued sea otters sent to zoos
and aquariums are still alive. Biologist Terrie Williams said more than
75% have died prematurely, apparently from oil-related causes. Most
of the otters died from the same type of lung damage that killed many
sea otters within weeks of the spill. Many of the otters also had deteriorated
livers, and approximately half of the pups born to the rescued otters
have been stillborn.
Zookeeper Workshop on Otters
An otter workshop was held at the annual American Association of Zookeepers
(AAZK) conference September 12-16, 1999, in Portland. AAZK Board Members
Kevin Shelton of the Florida Aquarium and Jan Reed-Smith of the John
Ball Zoo hosted the workshop. Agenda topics included discussions of
diet, water treatment, health care, breeding, enrichment and training
for husbandry procedures.
New Children's Books
The River Otter Alliance welcomes author Dorothy Wisbeski and her husband
Luke to their mailing list. Mrs. Wisbeski recorded their experiences
raising South American river otters as pets in suburban New Jersey during
the 1960s and early 1970s in three delightful children's books: The
True Story of Okee the Otter, Okee: The Story of an Otter in
the House and Picaro, A Pet Otter.
Sea Otters on the Web
Want to learn more about sea otters? Go to the Discovery Channel Online
web page (www.discovery.com/stories/nature/otters/nursery.html)
and read about the Sea Otter Research & Conservation Program (SORAC)'s
latest otter rescues. You'll also be able to view the Monterey Bay Aquarium's
nursery through the "Otter Cam."
A workshop on the Conservation and Public Awareness of Otters will be
held in Taipei, Taiwan, December 9-12, 1999. Goals for the workshop
include: 1) To establish Asian strategies of promotion of public awareness
for otter conservation through the case study of success stories in
Europe; 2) To promote involvement of media persons into otter conservation;
3) To assist in initiating country conservation projects through production
of awareness materials in local languages. The seminars will be in English.
For information on the program, contact Hiroshi Sasaki, Secretary-General,
Otter Research Group Japan, Chikushi Jogakuen Junior College, 2-12-1
Ishizaka, Dazaifu, 818-01 JAPAN.
(Office) Fax +81-92-928-6253; (Home) Tel/Fax +81-92-929-2924
Southern Sea Otters Relocation
Draft reports from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released this
March reported efforts to relocate sea otters from Southern California
fishing grounds has been a failure and recommended the program be discontinued.
Only 15 of the 140 otters trapped and moved to San Nicolas Island between
1987 and 1990 remain. According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, the
rest either swam back to the mainland or died from the stress of the
The program-initiated in 1986 to protect the state's shellfish industry-attempted
to keep otters out of mainland waters south of Point Conception. The
shellfish industry is angry the government may discontinue the relocation
program, in spite of the recent decline in the California sea otter
population to approximately 1,937. The Fish and Wildlife Service estimates
the California sea otter requires a minimum population of 1,850 to sustain