Encounter with mom otter at California nationwide park sends customer to the hospital

After an encounter with a river otter despatched a person to a hospital, officers at Lassen Volcanic Nationwide Park in Northern California are warning folks to remain out of the water at a well-liked lake.

The person was swimming in Manzanita Lake on June 25 when he was bitten by a feminine river otter, park spokesman Kevin Sweeney informed The Occasions on Tuesday. The person was hospitalized with “vital accidents,” together with scratches and puncture wounds that precipitated bleeding, however they didn’t seem like life threatening, Sweeney stated.

Sweeney stated that the incident occurred a few tenth of a mile from a ranger station, so rangers have been capable of reply rapidly. No additional particulars on the person’s accidents or situation have been obtainable.

It’s unclear what prompted the incident, however officers imagine that the person might have gotten too near the feminine otter’s kittens, prompting her to aggressively react.

Regardless of their “cute and cuddly” exterior, river otters have sharp tooth and claws and are harmful after they have their infants round, he stated. The otter that bit the person has three kittens.

For the reason that incident, park officers have elevated patrols within the space and positioned public security indicators across the park to warn folks in regards to the potential hazard of otters. A roughly 5-acre portion of the lake the place the assault occurred has been blocked off, and park officers stated guests ought to keep away from swimming within the space and never use soft-sided flotation units.

NPS map of Mazanita Lake.

NPS map of Mazanita Lake.

(Nationwide Park Service)

“We’re nonetheless watching her and we have now wildlife biologist on the market within the area ensuring that she’s nonetheless in that space,” Sweeney stated. “So for now, we’re giving her area. We’re maintaining guests out of her dwelling. It’s a very good reminder for us in nationwide parks that we’re guests and that our wildlife has their proper to lift their infants in these locations. And so, once in a while, we have to take a pair steps again and allow them to try this.”

Sweeney stated the incident is barely the second involving a river otter that he’s conscious of within the final 20 years. The otters are not often seen and principally hold to themselves, he added.

This incident is “very stunning, and animal assaults at Lassen are extraordinarily uncommon,” Sweeney stated. “I feel you will have a greater likelihood of getting bitten by a squirrel that’s been fed human meals than anything.”

The nationwide park can be dwelling to bobcats, mountain lions and bears.

Officers requested guests to report any river otter incidents, particularly these involving aggressive conduct, to a park worker or on the customer heart.