The river otter is a top-of-the-food-chain, semi-aquatic mammal whose populations suffered dramatic declines during the fur trade era. It is an important member of freshwater and estuarine ecosystems, and many states - including New York - have implemented otter re-introduction programs to assist the recovery of extirpated populations. Learn about the ecology and habits of river otters, as well as the efforts being made to study and protect them on Long Island.
About the speaker: Mike Bottini resides in Springs and currently works as a wildlife biologist, writer, outdoor educator, environmental consultant, swim instructor and ocean lifeguard. After completing graduate studies in wildlife ecology at the University of British Columbia, Mike worked for fourteen years at the Group for the South Fork, a non-profit environmental advocacy organization. He taught field ecology, environmental science, and natural history courses at St. Lawrence University, Southampton College, CUNY, and the Ross School, published three books about this area (Exploring East End Waters: A Natural History and Paddling Guide; Trail Guide to the South Fork; and The Walking Dunes: East Hampton’s Hidden Treasure), and writes a nature column for the East Hampton / Southampton Press. Mike’s wildlife research studies have included elk, spotted and tiger salamanders, spotted turtles, piping plovers, and river otters.