The river otter is scarce throughout Canada, with the marked exception of the BC coast. This adorable member of the weasel family is amphibious, with a streamlined body and tail, short legs, webbed feet, and dense waterproof fur equipping it to hunt in water. Unlike other fish-eating mammals like seals and whales, otters do not have thick blubber but only a thin layer of fat under its skin. This requires them to get out of frigid waters to rest, find shelter, and travel between different lakes and streams to find food. All of these challenges for an otter are greater during the winter. Otters can only swim for about 100 m from a source of air, and when traveling above ground and across snow-covered land or ice, they must be as efficient as possible to reduce exposure to cold and predators.

How we're helping

Your adoption will help Earth Rangers support Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Canada as they work to investigate the crucial areas of open water and cavities along the Yukon’s lake shore, which provide access beneath the ice. These areas support the majority of the Yukon’s species, but are also where most human development and recreational activities are focused and where there are very few protected areas. By identifying the routes that river otters take between waterways, researchers will be able to produce best management practices for the conservation of otter habitats as well as conserving and connecting wetland ecosystems.

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