Good news, Illinois river otters: You've rallied back from the brink of extinction. Bad news: You can now be legally hunted and slaughtered.
Monday, Nov. 5 marked the beginning of the state's first river otter trapping season since 1929. According to the Peoria Journal Star, trappings of otters were previously illegal in the state because the species' population was so low.
Bob Bluett of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources told the Chicago Tribune the state's otter population growth represents "a success story many times over." River otters were classified as "threatened" in 1977 and "endangered" as recently as 1989.
But thanks to a population that has rebounded from estimates as low as 100 to as many as 20,000 statewide, proving to be a nuisance to some, it is otter trapping time once more.
"It chronicles direct things we've done, but also those improvements that aren't quite so measurable over time," Bluett told the Tribune.
Otters are valuable to trappers because of their pelts, the Associated Press previously noted.
Cayucos, the Shedd Aquarium's resident otter pup, will (thankfully) not be impacted by the news.
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