Luis Ortega I Córdoba, (EFE).- The sighting of a young otter in the city of Córdoba last Sunday, which immediately went viral on Cordoba’s social networks, immediately alerted the Environment technicians Wednesday they have already returned it to its natural habitat, a stream next to the Guadalquivir river where it already rests with its colony.
The local Córdoba Environment technician, Santiago López, told journalists that after the citizen alert to the Local Police, the young otter was located on Carlos III avenue “under a vehicle” and “very scared.” “She didn’t move, but when we tried to catch her, she logically tried to get away from her.”
The expertise of the technicians meant that the animal was captured without damage and transferred to the Center for the Recovery of Threatened Species (CREA) of Los Villares of the Junta de Andalucía. “It is not the strangest thing we have found outside its habitat,” says López, who recounts that a “vulture hooked on a rooftop” was even recovered.
Once it arrives at CREA, the center’s veterinarians attend to the young otter with a “quick visual examination in case it had any type of injury or had to undergo some type of exceptional treatment,” according to the biologist Marina Ortega.
An oversight of the young otter
“A priori it was in good condition, although it seemed very stressed by the situation,” that is, by the time of the “capture” and not so much by having lived outside its habitat “for a while.”
“She had a good weight and we put her in a facility with her bath with water and we put fish on her, which is her usual diet and she ate without a problem,” explains Ortega.
After adequate recovery after his trip to the city, the veterinarians verified that “he had fed well, had also drunk and defecated normally and showed a good prognosis”, so after a “deeper examination” it was verified that “no He had no type of injury.”
“The animal had simply left its usual habitat and, being a young specimen, probably a young female, it got confused and simply appeared where it shouldn’t and at the most inappropriate time,” he adds.
And the rapid sighting and the perfect functioning of the action protocol allowed the young traveler to rest in the waters of the Guadalquivir.
Otters, a positive bioindicator
“The problem that these animals have is that they cross many roads and many infrastructures and in cases they die without anything being possible,” explains the biologist, who estimates that the reason for traveling to the city from the riverbeds to “look for food”, mainly “fish, crabs, water frogs… all fauna related to the river”.
The “intensity of the rains” influences the “movement of the otters” and with the “dry river” they are forced to look for food “in areas that are more beneficial for them” even though they have to “cross those areas that are not suitable for them ».
On this occasion, the young otter returns to the Pedroche stream, very close “to the place where it is found”, although it does not specifically know the exact point where its colony can be located, but the waters present “good environmental quality” and a course of water “pretty good”.
Although the exact number of specimens that inhabit the riverbed of the Guadalquivir as it passes through Córdoba is unknown, their sightings have been frequent from the Cordovan banks, especially when “they are breeding” and “the hatchlings and adults can be seen with very easily in the heart of the city.
But when they are juveniles “they already disperse and look for other areas that are more independent and do not go as a family group”, although the most important thing is that they look for “ecologically healthy sites”, so the presence of otter is a “bioindicator » that shows «a river that has good conditions».
Recovery at CREA
CREA mainly receives wild birds at its facilities and prioritizes protected species or those with some risk of threat, while mammals such as otters represent only 5 percent of total income.
During 2022, CREA Los Villares has treated 591 specimens, of which 58% have been able to be saved, some of which are still recovering, while the most frequent causes for which they enter are nest falls (58% ) and miscellaneous collisions (22%).
Individuals are the ones who give most of the notices when they find specimens of protected species, in a percentage of 68 percent, so environmental education and awareness is key to protecting wildlife. EFE