River otters thriving again in Colorado, showing statewide conservation efforts can work | SummitDaily.com

River otters thriving again in Colorado, showing statewide conservation efforts can work

An American River Otter eats along the banks on the Ruby HorseThief stretch of the Colorado River west of Grand Junction on Sept. 15, 2015, near Fruita, Colorado.

Spunky, fish-chomping river otters who faced extinction in Colorado and other Western states are bouncing back — evidence that pollution control and wetland protection bring results.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists say that, after completing the reintroduction of about 120 young male and female otters 25 years ago, otters are multiplying with a statewide population now numbering in the hundreds.

The recovery here, mirrored in other states that reintroduced otters decades ago, stands out in the struggle for wildlife survival because biologists consider otters a "sentinel species" that is highly sensitive to pollution. It shows how a relatively modest state effort to keep an imperiled species off the federal endangered species list — the U.S. ecological equivalent of an emergency room — can lead to a comeback.

Read the full story on The Denver Post website, click here.