Sunday, 31 March 2013

North American River Otter

I would love to be able to tell you that I had nipped over to the States for a few days to photograph some of that nation's wealth of flora and fauna. Sadly the best I could manage over a busy Easter weekend was a trip to a local wildlife park on the North Norfolk coast. I was rewarded, however, by this shot of a North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) which – although shot through glass and tricky to get any sort of focus to latch on – does, I think, have a an air of realism about it. I'm drawn to the knowing, inquisitive eyes, the abundant whiskers – which are used extensively in hunting for prey (especially organisms hiding in the river substrate) – and the ribbon of air bubbles, which underline the picture's sense of movement. The story of this beautiful, highly intelligent animal's population health is a mixed one; according to the University of Michigan, populations were once eliminated through many parts of their range, especially around heavily populated areas in the midwestern and eastern United States. Population trends have stabilised in recent years, however, and reintroduction and conservation efforts have resulted in recolonisation in many areas. 

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm IS L lens, 1/125th sec, f/5/6, 250mm at ISO 400