A river otter killed by a vehicle near Ithaca last month had an imbedded microchip that identified the animal as being released near Bear Swamp in October 2000. The animal was 12 years old, about four years past the average lifespan for river otters.
From 1995 to 2001, wild river otters were live-trapped, implanted with a tracking microchip and released in western and central portions of the state where populations were thought to be extinct.
This was done as a cooperative effort by many partners, collectively called the River Otter Project. Based on the longevity of the animal and other observation reports from the public, one must consider the River Otter Project a success.
A more formal evaluation is planned, but the DEC encourages everyone to continue reporting observations and submitting photos of wild river otters to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can learn more about river otters and the ROP on DEC’s River Otter web page. Volunteers observe as an otter is released back into the wild with its newly implanted tracking microchip.
source: Ithaca Journal