Three orphaned North American river otters have been returned to the wild after being raised at the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife in Sanibel. The otters were released at River Park in Bonita Springs.
The orphaned otters have been in care at CROW since they were just a few weeks old. The first otter pup, a healthy young male, was admitted on February 10 after being found on the side of the road in Labelle, Florida. A few days later on February 12, a young female otter was transferred to CROW after being initially admitted to Peace River Wildlife Center in Punta Gorda. The female battled pneumonia, but quickly recovered under the medical care of CROW’s staff before joining the male.
North American river otters are very social creatures and otter pups typically remain with their mother throughout their first year of life. Growing up with a sibling is vital to their learning and development of important survival skills needed for life in the wild.
In early March, the third otter, a young female, was found alone in a drainage ditch and admitted to the Tampa Bay Raptor Center. She was in good health when she was transferred to CROW on March 10 to be raised with the other two already in care. The three otters quickly bonded.
“As the otters grew, we weaned them onto solid food and introduced them to the water,” says Breanna Frankel, CROW’s rehabilitation manager. “Eventually they were moved to our outside enclosures where they learned important skills like hunting.”
The otters development of their hunting ability was aided by volunteer anglers who donated time to catch live fish.
“We are so thankful for the amazing people who answered our call for fisherman,” says Frankel. “All of the live fish provided for us to feed the otters helped them prepare for this day.”