A baby otter is recovering at a rehabilitation centre on Vancouver Island after its mother was hit and killed by a car while crossing a road in East Sooke near Spirit Bay.
“A driver saw the accident happen and thankfully brought the pup to us quickly,” said Ginelle Smith, manager at B.C. SPCA’s Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC) in Metchosin. “We’ve been taking care of her ever since because she’s too young to be out on her own.”
Most otters spend the first year of their lives with their mother until they can venture out of their own. Smith believes the baby was only a month old when the incident took place.
The young otter was dehydrated and quiet when she first arrived, according to a recent post on their website. Luckily, a steady diet of fish, regular fluid therapy and a quiet enclosure space have helped the orphaned animal recover. Staff at Wild ARC plan to release her back into the wild around spring 2021.
“We want her to be able to hunt and get back out there once she’s ready,” Smith said, adding staff are covered head to toe in personal protective equipment when interacting the otter.
“She still growls when we come to feed her and that’s good behaviour. We don’t want her to imprint on us because she can make a connection with humans and then she won’t want to leave.”
Notably, Wild ARC never names their patients, as to avoid growing a connection with the animal before release.
The rehabilitation centre is asking the public for donations to an emergency fund for the baby otter’s basic necessities. To donate towards their goal of $4,500, go to bit.ly/babyotterwildarc.