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NM Comeback for River Otter

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River Otter

State biologists plan to bring the river otter back to some New Mexico streams and rivers next year.

The state Department of Game and Fish, along with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and a private group called New Mexico Friends of River Otters, began working with Oregon to get otters for release in New Mexico.

But efforts to trap otters in Oregon were unsuccessful, delaying reintroduction. There have been no confirmed sightings of otters in New Mexico since 1953. Before then, otters had faced decades of trapping and loss of habitat.

Twenty states, including New Mexico’s neighbors of Arizona, Colorado and Utah, have successfully reintroduced the playful, semi-aquatic animals.


The River Otter (Lutra canadensis). The river otter, found in the United States and Canadian waterways, is a sub-species of the Otter (Lutrinae), which belongs to the martens (Mustelidae) family. The river otter is called Nutria del Canada or Nutria Norteamerica (Spanish), Lontre du Canada (French), Kanada-Otter or Nordamerikanischer Fischoter (German) and Lontre Canadese (Italian). Otters' webbed and clawed feet are good for running and swimming. River otters can run up to 15-l8 mph. They run and slide -- gliding as much as 25 feet on ice and ending with a tumble into a snowdrift or splash into the water.

More about River Otters: here.