This is one lucky little otter.
Power workers in Arizona rescued the wee fella, perhaps 4-weeks-old, stuck struggling in a drying canal last month.
“The otter was too small to use the steps that horses and other animals use to get out of the canal if they fall in, so the crew stepped in,” the folks with the Salt River Project said.
SRP crew members, Craig Boggs, Dave Massie and Joshua Shill, scooped up the dehydrated, starving and flea-infested critter and contacted the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
Without their help, the otter surely would have died.
Wildlife staff fed the sick otter a mash of trout mixed with kitten’s milk.
The government said this is the first time an otter was rescued from an SRP canal.
An otter family lives in the forebay at Granite Reef Diversion Dam, which could be where the baby started its “harrowing journey,” Game and Fish spokesman Nathan Gonzalez said.
“While we don’t know for sure, it’s likely that as the canal started to draw down, mom abandoned the canal and the baby was too young to follow,” he said.
Once it was nursed back to health, the otter was sent to Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde.
“This otter has found a home at Out of Africa Wildlife Park,” Arizona Game and Fish explained. “Sadly because it was abandoned and cared for by humans, it can no longer be released into the wild.”
While the otter was cared for, Game and Fish was also taking care of a kidnapped fawn and baby bobcat — both were snatched from the wild — as foolish people attempted to raise them as pets.
“The department has spent about $4,500 and counting to rehabilitate the kidnapped deer fawn. A six-day stay for the bobcat kitten cost the department $3,000,” the department said.
“Unfortunately, the department does not receive state general fund dollars. That’s what makes donations that much more important,” said Mike Demlong, who manages AZGFD’s Wildlife Center and Wildlife Education program.