Otter Neighbors

Artist  Marjolein Bastin
Painted  2010
Medium  Watercolor
Subject Location  Missouri, USA

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Artist Notes

“Would you like us to capture it?” our gardener in Missouri asked us when I tell him that I saw a few young otters in our pond. “They will eat every single fish out of your pond!”

When I tell my gardener that we don’t fish anyway he gives up. A pond full of catfish and largemouth bass, a rowboat ready to go…and then you don’t fish??
Oh, I just love watching those playful creatures! One minute they are frolicking, the next they work as a team to catch the large bullfrogs along the edge of the pond.
I watch them as they dive to catch some fish and the next day I’ll find fish heads, otter droppings full of fish scales and fish bones on top of their burrow. (Which by the way they have taken from the beavers that used to live in the pond as well.)

What a difference with the Netherlands! Partly because their habitat was cut up in so many small pieces the otter disappeared from the country in 1988. Another bead removed from our beautiful nature necklace…

But we didn’t just accept the fact that the otter disappeared. An otter needs a large area to live and because they move around a lot they need adequate passages from one territory to the next. The “Weerribben” national park was chosen as the most suitable location for a re-introduction in 2002. It is still a struggle in a country so densely populated as the Netherlands but I hope the plan will work, I just love these animals!

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