Just like foxes, another animal native to Chicago has decided to show itself after a long time of being away.
It all started when Chris Anchor, a longtime wildlife biologist with the Forest Preserve District of Cook county, was summoned to jury duty downtown. After arriving at union station, he joined others crossing the river east towards the loop. As he walked across the river, he looked down at the water and noticed something swimming around in the water.
There, surrounded by carp scales, was an otter. For the longest time, it was assumed that the water quality of the river was too poor for otters to survive in the Chicago area. That’s changed of late, and Anchor has recently secured a grant funding to start the Urban River Otter Research Project, a companion to a similar study of urban coyotes.
North American River Otters are found in nearly every state in the U.S., but were nearly hunted to extinction in parts of the Midwest. Chicago is 150 miles from the nearest place that otters were reintroduced to Illinois, and the fact that they have ventured into the City shows signs of their successful recovery. To aid the research, the researchers have put out a call for the public to share their otter sightings, after they have tagged more otters, they will then start to track them to further their research.
If you want to know more about the Chicago Otters and where to share your spotted otters, head on over to the main article here.