British Columbia otter pups need help to make it through the winter

Otter pups Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter/YouTube

A pair of river otter pups that were found on the side of the road this past summer are in need of some help.

The animals seem to have had a hard go of it from the beginning: they were washed out of their den when the river they lived in was running high. The duo managed to crawl to dry land and avoid drowning, but ended up perilously close to a highway. It was there, on the side of the road, that they were rescued.

The otters were taken to the Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter, in Smithers, British Columbia, even though the shelter did not usually handle aquatic wildlife. They were starving and dehydrated, but still alive.

The shelter would have handed them over to an organization that had experience handling otters and beavers, but nobody had room for the two pups. While this was initially fine, the shelter is not currently equipped to support the otters through the colder months.

The otters need to have regular access to water, and Northern Lights lacks those facilities. Now, the shelter is trying to raise money to create an environment the animals can use during the winter.

“It has to be insulated, it has to have a swimming pool, everything has to be insulated and water-proofed,” the shelter’s founder and manager, Angelika Langen, told the CBC.

River otter
Photo courtesy of Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter/Facebook

“They need to be able to get into the water in order for their organs to function normally, so we need one room that is frost-free and where we can put water in to swim.”

The shelter has raised $5,000 towards its $15,000 goal, but they’ll have to move quickly to ensure the pool is ready in time.

For now, the two otters are enjoying the fall weather—regularly playing in piles of leaves that the shelter workers collect for them. Hopefully they’ll be moving into a new home by the time the temperature begins to drop.


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