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River otters: Hardest-working clowns in the water

By: Jaymi Heimbuch on Sept. 13, 2013, 1:17 p.m.
river otter

Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch

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The human threat

However, the biggest threat to river otters is humans. River otter fatalities occur through trapping, shooting, being hit by cars, and being accidentally caught in fishing nets or fishing lines. River otters have been virtually eliminated from some areas due to these causes as well as habitat destruction and pollution. The species is highly sensitive to pollution, and its disappearance from an area is an early indicator that things are not well with the habitat's health.