Saturday, May 2, 2009

Otter: canary in the eco mine

I love this photo. It's by Eric Peterson.
From the EPA report "Population Monitoring and Contaminants Affecting the American Otter," 2002
Ecosystem Objective
"As a society we have a moral responsibility [emphasis mine] to sustain healthy populations of American otter in the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence basin.
American otter populations in the upper Great Lakes should be maintained, and restored as sustainable populations in all Great Lakes coastal zones, lower Lake Michigan, western Lake Ontario, and Lake Erie watersheds and shorelines...

American otters are a direct link to organic and heavy metal concentrations in the food chain...contaminants are a potential and existing problem for many otter populations throughout the Great Lakes. "

I dream of the day that otters have their resurgence like the bald eagles have- not an uncommon sight anymore, even, for instance, as close as Mequon. Last year, camping in Wisconsin, DH and I were just amazed, remembering that when we were kids, seeing a bald eagle would have been unimaginable. Next to impossible. That is to say, they have come back within our short lifetimes.

View the whole report here.