After years of absence, river otter returns home

The river otter has returned to the Vydrica stream, which bears its Slovak name, in Bratislava.

The otter was hunted for its fur and to protect fish stocks in the past.The otter was hunted for its fur and to protect fish stocks in the past. (Source: TASR)

The river otter, a protected animal species, has returned to the Vydrica stream in the urban forests of Bratislava after many years.

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Employees of the municipal forestry company Mestské Lesy v Bratislave found signs of this aquatic mammal near one of the ponds in Forest Park at the end of last year, the SITA newswire reported.

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“In our urban forests, we have been intensively searching for it in recent years, but, unfortunately, to no avail,” Michal Noga of Mestské Lesy said, adding that they managed to find food scraps and spraint (otter droppings) which has a distinct fishy odor.

At one time, the otter was hunted for its fur and to protect fish stocks. As a result, it completely disappeared from the areas in southwestern Slovakia and the Small Carpathians.

Popular Vydrica

The area where the otter is believed to live nowadays is a popular recreation site, and the fluctuation of visitors is high throughout the year.

“We believe the otter will find quiet and peaceful places here and will once again become a permanent part of the fauna of Bratislava’s urban forests,” Noga said.

Watch what animals a camera trap captured in the Dlhé Lúky area at the end of 2021:

Vydrica, named after the Slovak word for otter (vydra) more than 600 years, is home to other protected animals, too. The black stork, the gray wagtail, as well as the stone crayfish all live here.

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