While otters once thrived in most river drainages in Utah, only a handful remain today.
But thanks to students at Kearns High School, there will be at least two more wild otters on Utah rivers. Zoology and wildlife biology students have raised $660 to transplant two otters from Nevada to Utah.To raise the funds, students solicited "Otter Dollars" from family, friends and neighbors, as well as sold "Otter Pops" (frozen treats) at a school carnival. The funds have gone to the Adopt-an-Otter program administered by the Division of Wildlife Resources.
Six students who raised more than $30 each have been invited to accompany DWR officers Oct. 24 to watch the otters released onto the Green River. Students will be joined by teacher Linda Pearson, who will videotape the experience for other students.
Pearson conceived the idea earlier this year as a way to get students involved in wildlife preservation. "These are run-of-the-mill kids who love the outdoors and care about animals," she said. "It's exciting to see how exited they have become about the otters."
Pearson said other high schools in the Granite District are talking about also raising funds for otter reintroduction. "Hopefully, the other students will get as excited as ours have been," she said.
DWR biologist Bill Bates said Kearns High School is now the largest single contributor to the Adopt-an-Otter program.