A piece of good news, small but encouraging. Here in the U.S., I have seen wild mink but never a wild otter. The bride just loves otters in zoos (well, the concept of seeing otters, not necessarily the fact that a particular otter is in a zoo), and in any zoo we have ever been to, she makes a beeline there to see them.
From Grist (also the photo credit):
Once nearly extinct in England, otters have now returned to every county, indicating that rivers are at their healthiest in decades. Conservationists had predicted that it would be another 10 years before the otters reached this level of repopulation, so it's a real triumph for the little dudes. Not to mention an overwhelming stroke of good fortune for Brits, who can now watch otters play from the comfort of their homes, the lucky bastards.
Otters have reappeared in places where they have not been seen since the industrial revolution, including Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester, and even on the Thames and the Lea in north London. A recent survey on the river Ribble, in Lancashire, showed a 44% increase in otter numbers since 2008.
Once in an old Marty Stouffer Wild America TV show, he says something like, "If it isn't fun, an otter won't do it," meaning that they are one of the most playful of mammals in the wild.
Plus, they are cute!
Way back in my formative outdoor years I did some hiking in the Otter Creek watershed in northern West Virginia, and hope to go back there to do some trail running someday. I don't know this, but if otters are not there presently (having been exterminated), I only hope that the WV Department of Natural Resources will re-introduce them...and that I will see one there in the wild.
Then I could die a happy man.