The Conservation Beat
9:34 am
Thu February 23, 2012

Wildlife Debate: Would Otters Help or Hurt Fish in the Gila...

Today, the New Mexico Game Commission will vote on whether to reconsider a planned release of river otters into the Gila River.  KUNM’s Sidsel Overgaard reports.

if you think this is funny, you otter get out more: earth air waves

In 2006 the Commission approved a proposal to reintroduce otters to both the upper Rio Grande and the Gila.  Since then, 33 have been released in the Rio Grande, but none in the Gila…and it looks like it may stay that way. 

In a recent email, an official with the state Department of Game and Fish said concerns about the otter’s potential impact on several endangered and threatened species had led the department to withdraw support for the release. 

But Rachel Conn with Amigos Bravos says a biological assessment actually found that otters could have a positive impact on threatened species by eating invasive fish that are crowding them out.