It would have been easy for Eric Ste Marie to mistake the bobbing brown head and body in the Detroit River to be a muskrat, but curiosity drove him to chase it as it swam towards Ambassador Bridge in Southeast Michigan.
It turns out, it was the first “straight-up river otter” to be seen in the Detroit River in over 100 years. Ste Marie double-checked with a biologist friend of his from the University of Windsor, who confirmed—after watching the grainy cell phone video—that it really was a North American river otter.
The reaction from some local experts he spoke to was of disbelief, given that it’s been over a century sine one has last been seen here. The feeling was also of hope, as otters are a keystone species that signify good water health.
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