River otter species returns to Missouri waterways

Missouri News

THE OZARKS, Mo. – The North American river otter, a species once on the brink of extirpation in Missouri, has returned to the state’s waterways.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, otters were nearly wiped out due to “unregulated harvest” a century ago. But starting the 1980s, state and federal conservationists reintroduced more than 800 river otters to the wild.

Thanks to decades of continued efforts to preserve the animal and its habitats, otters can once again be located in most waterways across Missouri.

A video from a park ranger with the National Parks Service shows a family of otters frolicking and doing general otter things in the Big Spring branch of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.

While otters don’t have a signicant effect on rivers, the MDC says they can cause problems in smaller ecosystems such as ponds.

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