Protect Our Public Lands

Meet the Wildlife of the Dolores River Canyonlands: River otter

The Dolores River canyonlands is one of the most diverse wildlands in Colorado. This week, meet the river otter, one of the wild residents of the canyonlands.

Rivers & lakes

David Selbert | Public Domain

The charismatic river otter is known for acrobatic swimming and elusive behavior. Beyond their energetic and playful habits, they are also top predators in their habitats. Otters are important in regulating fish populations and help us measure the health of the ecosystem. By monitoring river otter populations, conservationists can learn important information about fish populations and water quality. 

Due to the high demand for their pelts, river otters were decimated in Colorado around 1907. Starting around 1976, the river otter was reintroduced in Colorado, specifically to the Dolores River. Today, river otter populations are not only stable, but thriving. 

River otters primarily can be found where there is high concentration of prey, high water quality and vegetation. 

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