This video shows a giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) spotted by a conservationist kayaking the Bermejo River in Argentina’s Impenetrable National Park.

The giant river otter was thought to be locally extinct in Argentina. This species has not been seen in Argentina for 40 years so this new sighting is a wonderful surprise!

Footage courtesy: Rewilding Argentina.

It is not known yet if this otter traveled to Argentina from somewhere else or, instead, if it is part of an unobserved group already living in Argentina. Prior to this sighting, the nearest known giant river otter group was in the Paraguayan Pantanal, thousands of miles away.

Either way, this sighting has caused great excitement for conservationists hoping to restore and rewild Argentina’s Impenetrable National Park.

Sebastian Di Martino of Rewilding Argentina was the lucky otter spotter!

Sebastian says: “As top predators, the giant river otter exerts a regulatory influence on plants and other animals which contributes to the health of aquatic ecosystems.”

Glossary:

extinctwhen a species no longer exists (has no living members)
locally extinctwhen a species no longer exists in a defined geographic area such as a park, region, or country
ecological restorationreturning a damaged or disturbed habitat to a former natural state
rewildingrestoring biodiversity (plant & animal species) to an area, making it “wild” again
top predatora predator at the top of a food chain, also called an apex predator
aquatic ecosystemany marine or freshwater ecosystem, including oceans, lakes, rivers, estuaries, and wetlands

See the full story on Mongabay:

https://news.mongabay.com/2021/05/giant-otter-thought-to-be-extinct-in-argentina-resurfaces-literally/