Congratulations to Zac Cota for winning the April 2017 iNaturalist Vermont photo-observation of the month contest. His images of a North American River Otter frollocking and feeding on fish was the most popular photo-observation as measured by clicked ‘favs’.
The North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) is a semiaquatic mammal that is found in and along waterways and coasts. An adult river otter can weigh between 11.0 and 30 pounds. The River Otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent fur coat of fur. In the 1800s and early 1900s, River Otters were over-harvested almost to the point of extinction in many areas of their range. Due to environmental pollution, habitat loss, and unregulated hunting and trapping, River Otter populations declined in the Northeast. Greater conservation efforts combined with monitored harvesting have allowed their populations to rebound to a healthy and stable size.
Visit iNaturalist Vermont, a project of the Vermont Atlas of Life, and you can vote for the winner this month by clicking ‘fav’ on your favorite photo-observation. Make sure you get outdoors and record the biodiversity around you and submit your discoveries and you could be a winner!