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River otters expand to 80 percent of Indiana counties PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, December 02, 2012 5:03 PM

River otters are expanding in Indiana and now occupy much of their historic range, representing a success story for wildlife conservation.

Hoosiers now have a good chance of seeing river otters in many Indiana watersheds, a memory that will last a lifetime.

Officially considered extirpated from Indiana by 1942, river otters were absent from the landscape for more than 50 years. Then in 1995, wildlife officials began releasing otters into key areas of the state.

Over a five-year period, 303 otters were transported from Louisiana and released at 12 sites in northern and southern Indiana. The reintroduction was so successful that by 2005, otters were removed from the state’s endangered species list.

Otters have moved into central Indiana, where the habitat wasn’t considered ideal for the species. But otters found suitable areas there to live, according to Scott Johnson, nongame biologist with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

River otters now occupy more than 80 percent of Indiana counties, Johnson said.

“It’s now been seven years since delisting, and all our information indicates the otter population continues to expand,” Johnson said.

For more information, visit and search “river otter.”