Otters: still playing in the Delaware River
DELAWARE RIVER — In zoos, otters are among the most visited creatures. They play. They swim on their backs and toss sticks and food in the air. …
DELAWARE RIVER — In zoos, otters are among the most visited creatures. They play. They swim on their backs and toss sticks and food in the air. They have mock battles, and call, chuckle, and chatter to each other. With their long, slinky bodies, playful nature and appealing faces, they’re one of the cutest critters ever.
But few people catch a glimpse of them in the wild, according to a press release from the Brodhead Watershed Association. With a little luck, you can see them here: river otters are found in every major river system in Pennsylvania, including the Delaware River.
Otters are active mostly at night, and they get most of their food from the water—fish, frogs, turtles and water plants—so they spend a lot of time submerged in creeks.
Otters have few natural predators other than humans. They’re much too fast to catch in the water, and on land, they are incredibly strong for their size, the press release stated. Sharp teeth and jaw muscles strong enough to crunch a turtle shell are formidable defenses.
Between the late 1800s and the mid-1900s, they were even harder to find in the wild. In fact, these elegant, sleek, aquatic mammals came close to being eliminated in North America. Human activities—industrial and private water pollution of rivers, creeks and streams, combined with unregulated trapping for their lustrous fur, crashed their numbers.
By sheer luck, river otters were never completely wiped out in Pennsylvania. With a lot of work to control trapping and clean up waterways where otters live, populations started to recover in the 1970s.
Today, thanks to clean water that supports fish and other food sources, their numbers are stable and even increasing in our area. But the National Wildlife Federation points out, “Habitat destruction and water pollution still put these animals at great risk, especially because they are so specialized.”
For more information, visit the National Wildlife Federation at nwf.org, or the Pennsylvania Game Commission at www.pgc.pa.gov.
For more information about protecting clean, abundant water, visit brodheadwatershed.org.
For local land conservation information, visit phlt.org.
HAWLEY, PA — Join the Delaware Highlands Conservancy on Saturday, November 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Boiler Room at the Hawley Silk Mill for a special fall fundraising brunch and presentation.
A brunch buffet will be catered by the Settlers Inn.
After the presentation, people can ask questions and join the discussion.
Tickets cost $75 per person, and include a $25 charitable contribution to the Delaware Highlands Conservancy. Buy tickets online at www.delawarehighlands.org/events or call 570/226-3164, ext. 9.
The proceeds will support the conservancy’s mission to protect the working farms and forests, clean waters and wildlife habitat of the Upper Delaware River region.
For more information, call 570/226-3164 or 845/583-1010, or visit www.delawarehighlands.org.
POCONO MOUNTAINS — Four hundred volunteers, 28 locations, four counties. Not to mention 100 miles and 450 bags of trash collected.
Individuals, families, organizations, schools, businesses and resorts all participated.
Those are the stats for the fifth annual Pick Up the Poconos Day, held on September 24.
The event is organized biannually by the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau, and has resulted in at least 25,839 bags of trash collected and properly disposed of over the last six years.
Pick Up the Poconos is supported by key partners, including Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, Leave No Trace, Monroe County Municipal Waste Management Authority, PennDOT, Waste Management, and the participating boroughs/townships.
Learn more at www.poconomountains.com/pick-up-the-poconos/.
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