Archive for March 13th, 2012

Wildlife: Otters in Texas

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

This is Passport to Texas

Texas Parks and Wildlife Biologist Gary Calkins—the man responsible for coordinating data collection on the state’s otter population—says it’s rare to see an otter in the wild.
When conducting surveys on the species, he and his team search for indirect signs of otter activity.

08—The surveys are done under bridges and looking for scat and tracks. We rarely get to see an otter, so we have to look for indirect sign of their presence.

Calkins had just wrapped up an otter survey the first time he was a guest on the radio show. Nobody could have predicted what happened after the program aired.

06—I started getting a lot of emails and phone calls from folks telling me that they had seen them in various places.

Surprising places, too.

11—There are a lot of sightings coming from a lot further west than I would have expected. A lot of them in the Austin area and the Colorado river drainage. And clear up to near Henrietta [near Wichita falls] was probably the most surprising.

He began plotting citizen sightings on a map.

12—It’s been a lot of fun; in some cases it’s been sort of overwhelming just because of the numbers. But it’s been really interesting and I’ve had a blast plotting them on a map and finding out where they’re showing up and visiting with folks about them.

A new survey began in February. On tomorrow’s show, learn how to distinguish otters from other furry swimming critters, before calling in your sighting.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.