Save the Giants Field Manager, Kenneth Butler met with the ranger staff at the Iwokrama River Lodge to discuss future plans to expand the giant otter survey. In 2009, Iwokrama conducted a population survey of giant otters on the Essequibo River and the team is excited to partner up with Save the Giants to continue giant otter conservation work in the area! Plans are in place to coordinate with Iwokrama on an otter survey in the late fall. This partnership will allow us to cover more ground and gain a more comprehensive picture of the health and abundance of otters in this area. Stay tuned for more details!
I will be heading back to Guyana next month to conduct a super quick otter survey during the rainy season. Typically, conducting an otter survey during the rainy season is a futile task. As water levels rise, otter groups move from their holts on the river into areas that are safeguarded from flooding. When the rains come and trigger the otters’ movement, tracking them is virtually impossible due to their wide spread dispersal into the corresponding pond systems along the river. Sort of like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
The past few years have been a little different in terms of rainy vs. dry seasons. During a “normal” rainy season, the river will rise up to 15 ft, swell over the banks and flood into the savannas. The flooded savannas provide perfect spawning grounds for the river’s fish. After the rains, the receding water levels will transfer the abundant fish population of the savannas back into the river. Boom! A perfect system for restocking the rivers!
2017 will mark the 3rd year in a row with inadequate rain fall during the rainy season and the 3rd year that river levels have not risen enough to spill into the savanna. This is an extremely troubling situation for fish populations and all of the creatures who depend on the fish as a dietary staple, including otters, caiman and humans.
Due to the lack of flooding this year, I am hoping to collect data on how otters respond to these abnormal seasonal shifts. I am curious to see if the otters are staying put in the rivers, or if they are still dispersing into the ponds.
Time to get out the rain sticks and do the dance!!
This is what conservation looks like! Dedicated and passionated people from around the globe, coming together to raise awareness for our endangered species. Moody Gardens is one of “Save the Giants” fiscal sponsors, here’s the excerpt from their Facebook page about World Otter Day! The team at “Save the Giants” cannot thank them enough!
Happy World Otter Day!
Today and Tomorrow at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas, World Otter Day will be celebrated (a wee bit late) in front of their Giant Otter exhibit. They have a table set up selling stainless steel re-usable straws as well as shirts, stickers and otter paintings made by their giant otters all to raise money for Save the Giants, a new conservation and research program run by Christina Ward.
There are going to be talks and behind the scenes tours.
Moody Gardens has just approved a grant proposal to fund 2 months of Giant Otter surveys in Guyana with Creature Conserve so any extra fundraising will be in addition to that.
What an amazing team! Will anyone be able to visit them and help the otters?