Three otter pups have been rescued from a Florida building site, and are currently receiving medical care, in the hope that they will make a full recovery.
The three northern river otters were abandoned by their mother when construction workers unexpectedly discovered the den, as they were trying to install a new concrete driveway for a house located in Titusville, Florida.
The adult animal instantly bolted at the sight of the intruders, leaving its 3-week old babies behind. In spite of hopes that the sow would eventually return to the three pups she had deserted, the frightened otter never did come back.
As a result, given that the young river otters would’ve never survived on their own, without being fed and properly cared for, locals decided to transport them to the Florida Wildlife Hospital and Sanctuary, a nonprofit organization based in Palm Shores.
That’s where they’ve been staying for the last half a month, being constantly supervised by veterinarians, to ensure that they consume enough food and gain enough strength and weight so as to be released back into the wild.
For now, the North American river otters are completely reliant on their caretakers, who feed specially made formula for around half an hour, 6 times per day, and constantly make sure they have everything they need.
As explained by Tracy Frampton, executive director at the Florida Wildlife Hospital, at the moment the pups appear healthy and well, but they are at such a young age that they remain exceedingly vulnerable.
Even though volunteers are doing their best to ensure that the condition of the small sucklings remains stable, nothing compares to the care and nourishment the pups would’ve received from their mother.
As a result, staff is still concerned about the small animals’ well-being, and reserved regarding their chances of surviving into adulthood.
Provided that they do indeed hold up well and are eventually deemed to be out of the woods, they will be transferred to another enclosure set up outside, so that they can slowly begin their transition back into the wild.
In the new outdoor pens, they will get to play in the pool, and be taught how to glide and dive, with the help of the sanctuary’s volunteers.
Moreover, probably in July or August they will also be introduced to live food such as fish and reptiles, so that they can develop their hunting skills, which will be essential for them once they are released again.
Since taking care of the baby otters is actually quite expensive, every pup requiring assistance amounting to approximately $2,300 or $2,400, the hospital is hoping that the story of the three orphaned animals will tug at people’s heartstrings, and encourage them to donate money for this cause.
Wildlife experts are also advising those who spot an otter den not to disturb it, because the semi-aquatic mammals are quite fearful and might leave their nests and never return, if they encounter humans.
Image Source: See Winter