WATCH: Three otters that had been in the care of the Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre in Metchosin were recently successfully released back into the wild. They were found nearly a year ago when they were only weeks old. Luisa Alvarez has the story.
Three healthy and strong baby otters in the care of the Wild A.R.C were released in April after nearly a year in care.
Lady, found in Ladysmith last May was just two weeks old with her eyes still closed when she was orphaned after her mom was chased by a dog and dropped her. Cowby, from Cowichan Bay, was also found in May with his eyes still closed. He was found covered with ticks after his mom was scared off. Piers, the eldest, was found at six weeks last June, alone and calling for his mother on Piers Island near Swartz Bay.
?We attempt reuniting whenever we can because the mother is always best but in those cases that wasn?t possible, so they did need our care because they still needed to be fed with formula,? said Senior Wild A.R.C Rehabilitator Marguerite Sans.
It was a long road and because they were so young, the trio needed very specialized care.
? They would normally still be drinking mothers milk so we did need to mimic that as much as we could with a specialized otter formula and then gradually we introduced small pieces of meat and fish to them and then eventually we did provide them with live fish to make sure they know how to hunt,? said Sans.
The organization is solely run on donations. Manager for Wild A.R.C Andrea Wallace says they had to run a fundraising campaign and raised nearly $17,000 to cover the cost.
“They ate about one kilogram of meat and fish every day so that adds up over time. It’s also important to realize that we have a special enclosure to keep these otters and so building that and maintaining it is also quite costly,” said Wallace.
In the end, all that effort paid off because they made their way back into the wild where they belong and were released at a beach near Shirley.
“We chose an area that was remote and isolated but it also had beach access and fresh water to drink and then there was a nice buried forest area for them to hide as well and lots of prey sources in the ocean,? said Sans.
They were raised together so in the wild they’ll stay together until they’re older and leave to find a mate.
To donate to Wild A.R.C visit their website.