The formerly extinct Giant River Otter reappears in the wild, with several more born in captivity.
A long-thought-to-be-extinct otter species has just resurfaced—literally.
The sight of a “extinct” huge river otter bobbing its head from the water while swimming in the afternoon has piqued the interest of animal conservationists, who believed the species had died out in the wild.
On May 16, conservation director Sebastian Di Martino observed the species that was thought to be extinct while kayaking on the Bermejo River in Argentina’s Impenetrable National Park, according to a Facebook post from the Fundación Rewilding Argentina.
“It appeared to be a river [otter]shortly after hearing a splash in the water,” the message stated. “[Di Martino] came to a halt to examine it because it wasn’t a common species, but [the animal’s]call alerted [him].”
“With [his]phone in hand, he began shooting it, and when this animal entered the water and revealed his white breast, there were no more doubts. “It was a specimen of a huge otter,” the post said.
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The lone huge river otter can be seen swimming happily in a video posted on Facebook. The daring animal’s head bobs up and down as it dives below the water’s surface and returns for air. It dives underwater at one point, and when the camera turns around, it pops up several hundred feet away in a couple of seconds.
In a message to The Guardian, Di Martino expressed his delight at seeing the huge river otter, technically known as the Pteronura brasiliensis.
“It was a complete shock,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. It’s an unbelievable feeling of happiness. I couldn’t decide whether I should try to follow it or return to our station and inform the others.”
The huge river otter breed became endangered as a result of European colonization in Argentina, mostly “due to hunting pressure,” according to a report from Mongabay News. While the Fundación Rewilding Argentina keeps some otters in captivity, they were last sighted in the wild in the Misiones Province in the 1980s.
In a statement to The Guardian, Di Martino said: This is a condensed version of the information.