Florissant Otter Gentrifies Pond, Deserves Personal Space

Feb 9, 2022 at 4:53 pm

The City of Florissant announced Wednesday that an otter has taken up residence in St. Ferdinand Pond, a development that historically would be extraordinarily rare in Missouri thanks to their nearly complete eradication due to hunting.

That changed in the early 1980s, and over the ensuing decade nearly 900 North American river otters were released into Missouri streams and rivers, according to a 2000 report by Missouri Department of Conservation.

That number would grow to more to more than 2,000 otters released in Missouri and neighboring states. A 2020 writeup from Washington University notes that at the time the otter population was so depleted that when the program began in 1982 it had to import otters from Louisiana. The otters were first released in the Ozarks, where their wetland habitats were strongest.

It's not just Florissant gaining new otter residents. In September, Ozark National Scenic Riverways shared video of a family of otters hanging out in Big Spring.

Of course, the environment of the Ozark wet lands isn't quite the same as Florrisant. In the city's announcement today, it cautioned the public to keep a safe distance and respect their space — good advice for any wild animal you might encounter.

"If you decide to go check this guy out yourself," the city said, "make sure to admire him from a distance as to not disturb his habitat."

Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at
@D_Towski. E-mail the author at [email protected]
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