Anchoring: Residents of Alaska’s largest city often grapple with bears and moose, but state officials warn of another wild animal causing trouble: river otters.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game says river otters have attacked people and pets in some of the city’s most popular outdoor spaces, the Daily News from Anchorage reported.
Authorities are asking people to be extra careful when they are near the rivers, streams and lakes along the city’s green belt.
Earlier this month, a nine-year-old boy was taken to the emergency room for a rabies vaccine after being repeatedly bitten near a duck pond.
The boy’s mother, Tiffany Fernandez, told the Anchorage Daily News: “He has two fang marks on his back thigh and one on the front thigh on each leg. [He has] a sting in the foot.
Another woman was bitten this week while rescuing her dog from a similar group of river otters at University Lake, Fish and Game said in a written statement. Another dog was bitten in another area of the same lake, which is a popular dog walking trail.
River otter attacks do occur, but are not considered commonplace, Fish and Game said. It is not known if the attacks came from the same group of otters, which can spread over large areas of land.
“Due to the risk to public safety, efforts will be made to locate this group of river otters and eliminate them,” Fish and Game said. “Care will be taken to only remove animals exhibiting these unusual behaviors. “
Authorities said the otters would be tested for rabies, which could explain their aggression, although there have been no recent reports of rabid otters in the area.