Where you can see Marine Otters

In the Wild

Throughout their range, these otters are rare and timid, and live in places difficult to get to. People have recently seen them at Chachagua, and they are most common round Chilo Island, but they are also thought to be resident in Parque Nacional Laguna San Rafael, Paracas Wildlife Reserve, Cabo de Hornos National Park, Albertode Agostini National Park and Los Pinguinos Monument Park (all in Chile).

In Argentina, they might be present in Tierra del Fuego National Park, and possibly on Staten Island.

They are still occasionally seen on East Falkland, where they were introduced for fur trapping in the 1930s.

In Captivity

As far as I can find out, none of these otters are currently held in any zoo collection, though it is possible that Jersey Zoo may one day do so - see this Zoo Review.

Larivière (1998) says that these otters have been domesticated and used for fishing by local fishermen in Chile. The cubs readily accept bottle feeding, and even adults adapt easily to freshwater pools and pet food, and play with other domestic animals. This might indicate that they would adapt well to captivity if a captive breeding program is pursued, although Gonzalo Medina believes that resources should be spent on in situ rather than expensive ex situ conservation. The sad story of Chunguito shows both that this species can be easily tamed, but also the fate that awaits rehabilitated animals returned to the wild, and so why captive breeding is often the only hope for a very threatened species, and why legal protection imposed from above is wasted if it is not supported by popular opinion in the areas where the animals live.

Ricardo Correa. who raised Chungito, is now raising an orphan cub called Pequeño.

Marine Otter