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Wild Center releases two rehabilitated otters

An otter is released into the wild at the Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station, a remote, 15,000-acre private land holding in the western Adirondacks. (Provided photo — The Wild Center)
Two young female otters are bottle-fed at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake. (Provided photo — The Wild Center)
A young otter is weighed at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake. (Provided photo — The Wild Center)

TUPPER LAKE — After five months of rehabilitation, the Wild Center released two female North American river otters in the Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station, a 15,000-acre biological field research station in the western Adirondacks, on Oct. 8.

This otter rehabilitation, a first for The Wild Center, began in May after receiving phone calls from residents in two separate areas within the North Country that had each spotted a five-week-old abandoned pup in the wild. Wild Center curator Leah Valerio and the rest of the Animal Care staff worked hand-in-hand with local veterinarian Dr. Nina Schoch to retrieve the pups and transport them to the center’s facilities in Tupper Lake.

After spending the requisite month in our wildlife quarantine space, the otters spent their time at the Wild Center learning how to swim and dive, groom their fur and hunt for fish — skills they would have learned from their mother in the wild. Wild Center staff tracked their progress through live video programs which can be accessed at wildcenter.org/pupdates.

As the seasons changed, the otters were successfully released back into the wild. The Shingle Shanty Preserve is expected to provide an excellent home for the otters. This land includes nine lakes and ponds over acres of hardwood forest, as well as 2,000 acres of wetlands which make the location invaluable to regional biodiversity.

Steve Langdon of Saranac Lake, director of Shingle Shanty and an adjunct professor at Clarkson University, said, “We picked this spot because of its remoteness. It’s about 15 or 20 miles from the nearest road. The wetland area is also a perfect otter habitat. I’ve been observing otters in this area for the past decade.”

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