As I have mentioned before, otters are extremely vulnerable at this time of year (November – March). Newly born otters are only just learning to forage and are still dependent on their mothers, and one-year old otters from the previous years litters are just starting to disperse. The dispersing yearlings are in danger of encountering cars, roads, trains and humans en route to finding their new territories, and the young pups are in danger of being separated from their mother and becoming lost and eventually abandoned.
This was the case for a young female otter found in Langebaan at the end of last year – November 2012. The pup was found in Veldrif Nature reserve, all alone, by the SANParks rangers. Often otter mothers will whistle and call for their young should they get separated, and will eventually be reunited. However, in this case, the otter family did not find the otter pup after sufficient time and as the pup would not be able to survive on its own, she was taken in to a nearby wildlife rehabilitation facility – Wildlife Rescue, in Langebaan. The centre is run by Tanya Heald at HOW. Tanya is a trained wildlife rehabilitation expert and will be raising the otter until it is old enough to be released back into the wild. So far, Tanya has been teaching the otter to swim, and she has been making great progress. I will post further updates as she grows, but in the mean time, check out these photos of her in her large enclosure: