With their cute little faces, smooth shiny fur, and bright personalities, it's not hard to see why so many people around the world are fascinated with otters. So much so that an increasingly large number of people are keeping them as pets in their homes – however, these wild animals suffer from chronic stress when confined in captivity.
Many of the "cute" and incredibly popular pet otter videos on social media show the animals displaying stereotypical behaviors – these are behaviors that otters do not display in the wild and are a sign of stress. Stereotypical behaviors include running furiously across a room and screaming for long periods of time, which may be perceived as "chattering" but is actually a distress call. They are signs that the otters may be suffering from isolation, boredom (lack of enrichment), and that they're probably spending too long in a small cage that limits their movement.
Otter and wild animal cafés – coffee shops that have otters on display and in some cases available for holding or petting by customers – are also part of this problem. Our investigators found that the otters in these cafés were often kept in cruel conditions – lacking proper nutrition, access to water, and enrichment – and were sometimes seen in clear distress.
You have the power to change this.
By pledging to Organize for Otters, you are pledging to:
Never visit an otter café or own a pet otter
Speak out against the global wildlife trade
Support World Animal Protection's work to protect otters
Educate friends and family on why they shouldn't share captive otter videos
Sign up to Organize for Otters and urge family and friends to do the same.