Have You Seen The River Otters In The Wichita Mountains Refuge?
Walking around the Wichita Mountains last weekend, we ran across one of the many information boards posted around the area. My buddy and I both kind of raised an eyebrow when we saw 'river otter' listed under local wildlife. Granted, I haven't spent a ton of time in the refuge, but it's also the first time I've noticed these hairy little fellows on the sign. Luckily, we live in a time where you can just Google anything. Information literally shows up in an instant, and learning has become vogue again. Unfortunately, the quick search doesn't fully satisfy this river otter curiosity... but it does toss you down another path of knowledge.
When settlers first started finding their way to our little gem in the plains, river otters were supposedly pretty numerous. In true human fashion, we wiped them out before 1900 rolled around. You have to remember that pelts were a huge thing in those days.
In the 1990's, the idea started rolling around that we should try to reintroduce these little fur coats back into the refuge. Given the past reintroduction failures... pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and the humble prairie chicken... it was a gutsy move. All you can do is try.
Apparently, it was a success. There are several river otter families around the refuge, though spotting them is somewhat of a rarity. If you do manage to spot them, take in the moment, but try to also capture that moment in a picture. You never really know when you'll see them again.