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Observance notes threats to otters

A river otter. (Provided Photo/Indiana Department of Natural Resources)

(WISH) — Wednesday marked World Otter Day, an annual observance aimed at raising awareness of the challenges confronting otters and promoting efforts to protect them.

The initiative was established by the International Otter Survival Fund, an organization dedicated to the conservation of otters worldwide. According to the organization, the primary objective of World Otter Day is to educate about the threats facing otters and to foster understanding of how to safeguard these aquatic mammals.

The International Otter Survival Fund reaches its goal through education, rehabilitation, and reducing trade and research, a statement on its website said.

Otters, known for their very playful demeanors, are facing peril. There are currently 13 known species of otters, with the majority classified as endangered, according to the International Otter Survival Fund. The organization underscored the need for action to mitigate the factors contributing to the decline of otter populations.

Among concerns is habitat loss resulting from human activities. Additionally, pollution, poaching, and the illegal wildlife trade pose significant threats to otter populations worldwide, according to the International Otter Survival Fund.

Alaska, with its extensive coastline, is a critical habitat for otters. The International Otter Survival Fund reports that approximately 90% of otters inhabit the coastal waters of Alaska, underscoring the importance of conservation efforts in the region.

In observance of World Otter Day, people are encouraged to take part in events and educational initiatives around the world to further conversations about otter conservation efforts.