The question of native versus non-native species is often complicated.
For example, salt cedar (tamarisk) is an invasive species that is the target of widespread eradication efforts, yet it has also become a favorite habitat of the endangered southwest willow flycatcher. Climate change impacts will only heighten that complexity as some native species fail to adapt and non-native species fill their ecological niche. Nevertheless, Amigos Bravos has a policy of conserving and restoring native species and working to develop policies and practices that aid adaptation to climate change.
Reintroduction of River Otters to New Mexico
In 2008, Amigos Bravos was part of a coalition called New Mexico Friends of River Otters to reintroduce river otters to the Upper Rio Grande after their population was decimated in the 1950s from decades of hunting and trapping. Today, that first group of 33 river otters has grown exponentially have migrated from the upper Rio Grande to the middle Rio Grande. Read more>
From the 1950’s until 2008, river otters were no longer a part of the Rio Grande ecosystem. Hunting and trapping extirpated them from the State of New Mexico and from many other states across the country. In 2008, a reintroduction program was devised by a coalition called New Mexico Friends of River Otters. Today, that first group of 33 river otters that were reintroduced along the banks of the Rio Pueblo has grown exponentially. As you can see from the map below, otters have migrated all along upper Rio Grande down to the middle Rio Grande.
The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) is a large and strong semi-aquatic mammal in the weasel family. Highly social, playful, and possessing seemingly unlimited energy, they are a joyful sight to the lucky observer. Otters are more at home in the water than out of it, using water for hunting, frolicking, traveling, and as a refuge from danger. They thrive on a diet of crayfish, fish, and insects. Their lithe, streamlined shape, powerful tails, and webbed feet make river otters expert swimmers and divers. Dense, glossy brown fur, with long guard hairs, keep them warm and dry in icy winter waters.