Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has successfully reintroduced river otters to Colorado's Western Slope.
Otter populations were depleted across the United States in the early 1900s to due to unregulated fur trapping and habitat modification. Colorado is one of 21 states in the country that have since worked to reintroduce and foster river otter populations, according to CPW.
"Once vanished from Colorado, the species now thrives and has even begun to spread on its own. Otters are notoriously difficult to keep tabs on, but our teams are involved in intensive efforts to learn more about their populations," CPW said in a tweet on Monday.
Today, otters can be found in 34 of the 65 counties in the state, according to a report from the Denver Post.
"Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists say that, after completing the reintroduction of about 120 young male and female otters 25 years ago, otters are multiplying with a statewide population now numbering in the hundreds," the report said.
River otters are the longest members of the weasel family found in Colorado, ranging from 3 to 4.5 feet, according to CPW. Their diet is made up mostly of fish, so they rely on healthy water habitats to thrive.
"They are active mostly at dawn and dusk, and appear to spend large amounts of time just playing—sliding on ice, snow and mud, and swimming gracefully for no apparent reason beyond swimming," CPW said.
They typically breed in spring and can have up to four pups in a litter.
"Because our river otter populations are doing so well, our efforts are now dedicated to monitoring them. There’s currently no need to intervene, but we are dedicated to maintaining our knowledge base and making proactive plans," CPW said in a report.
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