Another otter trapped, this one in Harrison County
Indiana Conservation Officers reported that there have been five incidents of otters being accidentally trapped in Southern Indiana during this trapping season.
Conservation Officer Jim Schreck said he was contacted Dec. 30 by Aaron Taylor who was trapping for beaver on Indian Creek near Valley View Road. Taylor had accidentally trapped the river otter.
‘This was the first (otter) out of Indian Creek,’ Schreck said.
River otters were declared an endangered species in 1994 by the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources. And to help achieve the goal of reestablishing the river otter population in six Indiana watersheds at 12 sites by the year 2003, 303 otters were released between 1995 and 1999.
The Corydon Central Junior High School’s Earth Savers club was one of 15 school groups that participated in releasing 52 otters in two areas of the Blue River watershed. The Earth Savers members raised $1,000 to sponsor a mating pair of otters.
State biologists have monitored the otters through bridge stream surveys and observation near the release sites. Data indicates river otters now reside in 35 counties and have been seen in 23 other counties.
Of the 303 river otters that were released 43 reportedly died from various causes, such as accidental trapping and hit by vehicles, according to information provided by the DNR. An additional 27 otters were also found dead.
Post-release records through December 2002 show that between 11 and 25 river otters live in Harrison County.
Of the five otters that have been accidentally trapped, some of those were killed in the process. Those were sent to DNR Fish and Wildlife biologists for further study.
Two adult otters that were accidentally trapped on Poison Creek near Gerald, appeared to be in good health at the time.
Schreck said trappers are encouraged to use all the tactics possible to avoid catching otters, which are extremely mobile. This can be done by avoiding setting traps in areas where otters are evident.
Look for tracks or other evidence, such as scat, while scouting an area for trapping, he said.
Additional information about trapping can be found online at www.wildlife.IN.gov.
Conservation officers ask that outdoor enthusiasts report observations of river otters to the DNR.