Not long ago we at Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife received a transfer from Rick’s Raptor Rescue in Riverview. He had received a baby North American river otter from one of our cooperating veterinarian partners, Blue Pearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital of Brandon. We frequently work cooperatively with Rick on cases involving raptors and he knew that we would be a much better fit for this animal.
Upon arrival to us it was clear that the little boy was hungry and dehydrated. He also seemed very relaxed around our volunteers, which is quite unusual for otters. We suspected that once he was feeling better his attitude towards people would change and like most other otters he would become feisty and aggressive. To our surprise the opposite happened. As he began to feel better he became even more sweet and bright. We sent volunteers out to scout the area and called the person who had dropped him off at the vet in hopes of learning more about his history. The area in which he was found was nowhere near a suitable habitat for him. The individual who took him to the vet explained that the otter had actually found them at a gas station on a busy road and ran up to them like a lost dog. It was clear that someone must have had this pup illegally and either decided to release him or he got out. Luckily he found the right person who knew what to do.
We had hoped that as time pasted and we did not treat him like a pet he would become more wild, but it never happened. It was determined that he had become habituate, or use to, people. Wildlife that is habituated, imprinted, or desensitized to humans can be dangerous if released and are at greater risk for additional injury or death if returned to the wild. That meant we needed to shift gears and find this sweet boy a place to go where he could have a purpose and be cared for his entire life. We contacted our local contacts and reached out to our network of cooperating veterinarians. Before we knew it we had a few facilities to choose from.
After careful consideration and research we did decide on a home for him. We are happy to announce that in the next few weeks he will be traveling with Kris Porter, our permitted rehabilitator, to Denver, Colorado so that he may join his new family at the Denver Aquarium. We selected the Denver Aquarium for many reasons including their beautiful habitat which is already complete and their AZA accreditation proving that they are an aquarium that consistently meets high standards for animal welfare and care. He will be an important new member of their animal ambassador team as will serve as an educator for his species.
We are in the process of finalizing this transfer and travel arrangements. We will continue to update you as we move forward with this case. If you would like to make a contribution to his continued care while he is with us, the care of the other animals we are rehabilitating, and/or our travel to and from his new home you can make your tax deductible contribution using the PayPal button below.
And as always we remind you to please contact us or your local permitted rehabilitator if you find any wildlife in need of rescue!