River Otter Alliance

President's Message

Dear Readers:

Welcome to the Fall 2001 edition of The River Otter Journal.

In this issue, The River Otter Alliance will introduce you to the Missouri river otter reintroduction project. The project has been called "the world's most successful carnivore restoration in history," where 845 river otters released between 1982 and 1992 have grown to an estimated population of 11,000 - 18,000 animals. The results have so exceeded the expectations of conservation department wildlife managers, river otters have become a source of complaints from anglers who worry otters might be affecting the state's fish populations.

This newsletter presents the first comprehensive overview of the project in an article written by Glenn Chambers, who experienced it first-hand as a wildlife research biologist and national award-winning cinematographer for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). Now retired from the MDC, Glenn continues his work as a wildlife cinematographer and-along with his wife, Jeannie, and otters, Splash and Slide-travels the state as a river otter-goodwill spokesperson.

Also in this issue, we've included Dr. Paul Polechla's article on successful river otter tracking, Dr. Jo Thompson's report on the IUCN/SSC Otter Specialist Group's August meeting on African otters, and an update on the sea otter-related lawsuit brought against the United States Fish and Wildlife Service by the Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara. We also present an article from June Gerrard on her quest to view otters in the wild during her recent visit to the United States.

On a final note: in this difficult time following the September 11th Tragedy that has affected us all so deeply, The River Otter Alliance greatly appreciates our readers' contributions. Sadly, we have begun to hear many organizations are no longer able to continue their work due to a lack of charitable funding. So, in addition to your generous support of the victims of the terrible tragedy and their families, please also remember to assist groups that conduct work you value; especially please consider those who feed and care for the needs of our animal friends.

-Tracy Johnston, ROA President and Newsletter Editor

Drawing by Joe Davis, courtesy of Clarence Wright. Printed with artist's permission.