Who Would Hurt An Otter? Lake Temescal Critters Receiving Death Threats, Park Rangers Say

It seems someone has it out for the otters. Park rangers say someone is threatening an otter family that calls a Bay Area lake its home.

Most visitors to Oakland’s Lake Temescal have grown quite fond of the critters, but some fishermen may not feel the same way: The East Bay Regional Park District says it has received reports of death threats against the semi-aquatic creatures.

“A couple of people allegedly said that they would like to do the otters some harm because they think that the otters are taking the vast majority of fish caught out of Lake Temescal,” said Steve Bobzien, the East Bay park district's ecological services coordinator.

Bobzien said the angry anglers need to realize the lake's blue-green algae problem has impacted the lake's fish population.

The otters, he said, aren't to blame.

“Although they take a lot of fish, they also eat other animals like frogs, crayfish, even small mammals,” Bobzien said.

Park police and the Department of Fish and Wildlife have stepped up patrols, Bobzien said. They've also installed cameras to keep an eye on the otters.

Bobzien said people ought to embrace the otters, not target them.

“Just co-exist with the otters,” he said. “Enjoy them.”

Park officials said it's a crime to harm wildlife. Anyone caught doing so could face stiff fines and jail time.

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