Many of us know about The Wild Center in Tupper Lake for its Wild Walk experience, nature trails, Adirondack exhibits, and resident otters, but earlier this year, the museum began its first otter rehabilitation program when they rescued two abandoned pups in the wild. After caring for the young animals, The Wild Center announced it had successfully released the otters into the Western Adirondacks on October 8.
How The Wild Center Got Involved
Although The Wild Center’s staff are experts in the care of North American river otters, they never expected to receive phone calls from residents in two areas within the North Country about abandoned otter pups. However, that’s exactly what happened this past May when the museum learned about the two five-week-old otters who needed help.
In response to this situation, the museum’s curator, Leah Valerio, and the rest of The Wild Center’s Animal Care staff worked with local veterinarian Dr. Nina Schoch to rescue the female otters and bring them to their facilities in Tupper Lake.
From May to October, The Wild Center staff cared for the two animals and tracked their progress through live video programs. The otters learned essential skills, such as how to swim and dive, groom their fur, and hunt for fish.
A Major Pup-date in the Rehab Program
After months of rehabilitation, The Wild Center decided it was time to release the otters back into the wild. Their new home would be the Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station, a 15,000-acre biological field research station in the Western Adirondacks. The area features nine lakes and ponds, acres of hardwood forest, and approx. 2,000 acres of wetlands.
“We picked this spot because of its remoteness. It’s about 15 or 20 miles from the nearest road,” said Steve Langdon, Director of Shingle Shanty and an adjunct professor at Clarkson University, in a press release. “The wetland area is also a perfect otter habitat. I’ve been observing otters in this area for the past decade.”
The release of these two otters marks the successful completion of The Wild Center’s first otter rehabilitation program.