Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Wild Center Adds River Otters With Kanienkehaka Names

Tawi:ne the river otter

Two male North American river otters made their debut at the Wild Center’s Otter Falls exhibit on June 22.

The pair’s Kanienkehaka names – Tawi:ne and Rohsno:re – were revealed on July 6 as part of The Wild Center’s Ways of Knowing celebration.

The Wild Center’s Curator Leah Valerio worked with the Akwesasne Boys and Girls Club to name the two new otters. As part of the Club’s end of year party Valerio taught the group about North American river otters, painted otter faces on the kids and led a discussion in which the youth developed suitable names for the pair.

The students chose Tawi:ne (da-WEE-nay) meaning “otter” and Rohsno:re (low-SNOW-lay) meaning “he’s fast” in the Kanienkehaka language.

The pair began their journey to The Wild Center in Ohio where they were trapped as nuisance animals. Trapped river otters are often slated to be killed and used for fur, or in some cases, relocated to areas without enough food to survive. The Wild Center’s Animal Care staff was made aware of their situation and decided to take in the pair.

The Akwesasne Cultural Center, The Six Nations Indian Museum, the Native North American Travelling College and The Wild Center united to broaden and heighten understanding and appreciation of the natural world.

The collaborative and multi-faceted project Ways of Knowing opened at The Wild Center in 2018 and encourages visitors to continue their exploration at the Akwesasne Cultural Center in the Mohawk community of Akwesasne, The Six Nations Indian Museum in Onchiota and the Native North American Travelling College on Cornwall Island.

The Wild Center is located at 45 Museum Drive Tupper Lake. More information is available on their website.

Photo of Tawi:ne the river otter provided.

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7 Responses

  1. Tim-Brunswick says:

    I seriously hope they escape and please don’t tell me there’s not enough “food” for River otters in the ADK’s. I know a bit about otters and other members of the “weasel” family and to deny them their freedom is a crime!

    These are not young inexperienced critters and they would almost immediately adapt & survive since the “habitat” streams in the Adks.teem with “food” for otters.

    Frankly the “Wild Center” ought to live up to their reputation and release them into the “wild” !

  2. Suji says:

    I totally agree!

  3. Boreas says:

    I am curious how a pair of river otters in Ohio became labeled as a nuisance. Do they go after chickens or domestic animals? Garbage? I thought they were basically piscatorial.

    • Tim-Brunswick says:

      My opinion only,.. however I do have quite a bit of experience dealing with members of the Mustelidae (weasel) Family and they are all very efficient predators.Contrary to the Disney Image, otters can be very damaging as follows:

      -Fish Farms, hatcheries, Homeowner ponds, etc.

      -Farm fowl of all types (yes..they don’t just eat fish!)

      Typically, they feed on fish, frogs, crayfish, muskrats, young beaver, ducks/ducklings, Geese/goslings and the list goes on depending upon how hungry they are and whether or not the right opportunity presents itself. They have plenty of time to “play” simply because they are such efficient members of the mustelidae family.

      The smallest weasel is capable of inflicting serious devastation in a chicken coop overnight. In recent history a Sportsman’s Club raising 6-day old pheasant chicks were visited by a Family group of weasels which wiped out/killed all by six of the 180 chicks in one night. The remaining chicks died of trauma.

      All members of the weasel family are noted for surplus killing when the opportunity presents itself ( i.e. a chicken coop). Hope this helps.

  4. Virginia Alfano says:

    What happened to the otters that were at the Wild Center previously?