Aggressive Alaskan River Otter Pack Attacks People
A bright yellow sign posted at University Lake Dog Park features the silhouette of a fuzzy otter and warns: “OTTER ALERT!”
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Residents of Anchorage are advised to beware if they come across a pod of daring river otters on the shore.
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In recent weeks, a team of aquatic assailants have reportedly injured pets and people, including a nine-year-old who has been repeatedly bitten.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has warned anyone visiting some of the city’s most popular outdoor spaces: near rivers, streams, and lakes along the Greenbelt, a reported Anchorage Daily News.
“Due to the risk to public safety, efforts will be made to locate this group of river otters and eliminate them,” Fish and Game said in a statement. “Care will be taken to only remove animals exhibiting these unusual behaviors. “
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A bright yellow sign posted at University Lake Dog Park, which features a fuzzy river otter silhouette, reads: “OTTER ALERT!” A group of otters recently attacked dogs and bit one person near the lake (September 20).
Fish and Game said that day that an aggressive pack of otters harassed a dog when the owner, who quickly intervened, was bitten. Apparently, on the same day, otters also bit another dog in another part of the lake.
The recent attacks began in early September, when a nine-year-old boy was taking videos of otters near a duck pond in East Anchorage. An otter broke away from its group to pursue the boy and his older brother. As they tried to escape, the nine-year-old lost his balance and fell. The otter caught and sank its teeth into the boy’s legs several times and punctured his foot, Daily News reported.
Although it’s rare, there have been reports of otters attacking dogs in the city over the years, according to Fish and Game.
River otters travel great distances using connected bodies of water, making it unclear whether the grumpy culprits belong to one group or more. If caught, they will be tested for rabies and then “shipped,” as relocation would only shift the problem, according to Fish and Game, who added that a small slaughter should not disturb other populations.