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With four wildlife centers around the United States, Fund For Animals staffers are kept busy caring for abused, injured and unwanted animals. At the Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, Massachusetts, the focus is on conservation and on rehabilitating native wildlife - wildlife like the baby North American river otter they helped prepare for life in the wild.
When the two-month-old river otter was found abandoned and wailing, she was brought to the Cape Wildlife Center. Without a mother to teach her necessary survival skills, she needed special care to help her survive. Staff stepped up, building a customized habitat to teach these crucial behaviors. She had pools for swimming, tunnels for navigating and lots of enrichment items for playing and learning.
It was also important to make sure she was socialized properly so that she could live in the wild. Staff walked a fine line, wanting to provide ample care without teaching the otter to grow dependent on humans. For nine months, they devoted just the right amount of time and attention to her.
In March of 2015, the healthy, independent and now-adult otter was ready to go it alone. Once the waterways started melting, staff released the otter to a state-sanctioned site full of space for swimming and fishing. With no hesitation, she walked right out of the transport crate and into the water, ready to take on her new life in the wild.