Is it bad when you burst out laughing in the middle of an interview about the plight of otters in New Mexico? I had my mic potted down, so hopefully Rachel Conn didn’t hear me snort.
She was talking about how New Mexico lags behind every other state in the reintroduction of this native species (which, by the way, is NOT endangered, so there would be no land management issue associated with the program). If you’re a fan of the slippery little critters, you might hear that and think, “Ack. Yet another list where New Mexico falls last. How embarrassing.” That’s what I thought, until Conn started talking about otter sourcing. Yes, otter sourcing.
Conn says a decade ago when LOTS of states were launching otter reintroduction programs, there was a lively trade in Lontra canadensis, and even the grand opening of an otter farm somewhere in Louisiana. Yarr! Step right up ladies and gentlemen! It’s otter boom times!
Alas, by the time New Mexico showed up to the fair with ticket in hand, the carnies were closing up shop. Now the opportunities to snap up a couple of otters are few and far between. That’s why, says Conn, it was so disappointing when New Mexico recently had to turn down an offer of six river otters for the Gila because of controversy over the program’s potential impact on endangered fish.
Well, if the state ever does decide to move forward with an otter release, at least we can rest assured that, given what we know about the laws of supply and demand, there’s sure to be a black market somewhere.