River otters rebounding in Texas

River otters are on the rise throughout Texas. Credit: Dan Dzurisin

River otter sightings are on the rise throughout Texas, tracking with what biologists say is a steady increase in the species’ numbers in the state. Texas no longer lists the river otter (Lontra canadensis) as a species of greatest conservation need, and its numbers have increased enough that state biologists no longer conduct surveys. Otters were once common throughout the state, but their numbers fell with unregulated hunting and trapping in the 19th and early 20th century. A decade ago, biologists believed their numbers were limited to the Piney Woods of East Texas. Since then, they’ve been spotted throughout much of the state. “In the next 10 or 20 years, I’m anticipating that more people will see river otters in the wild or in their backyards, depending on where they live,” Texas Parks and Wildlife urban biologist Diana Foss told Texas Monthly.

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