The Los Angeles Times featured an article about Sutro Sam, a river otter who has taken up residence in San Francisco's famed Sutro Baths, a set of pools no longer in use--by humans, anyway--on cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The otter is causing great excitement among the ecology set, as river otters once thrived in the area until human development and the fur trade wiped them out. Since he is the only one, no one knows quite how he got there. The article suggests that he might have paddled across San Francisco Bay from Marin County, or hitched a ride on a boat. In any case, Sam the urban otter seems happy to be where he is.
I worry about Sam. I live in Glendale, California, where a misplaced bear recently made himself at home in an urban area. The residents left food out for him and named him "Meatball". They forgot that a bear is not a cuddly stuffed toy, but a wild animal. The poor fellow had to be trapped and transported several hundred miles away, because when he was returned to nearby woods, he would of course come back to the source of the food. People are going to start feeding Sam, or some enterprising soul is going to bring a lady river otter to keep him company, and maybe start a little family. For as long as he is in a public urban place, people are going to mess with him. Probably, someone will get too close, get bitten, and Sam's publicity will go bad. Sam, I know you like the Sutro Baths. I like them, too. But please, before anything happens, go back where you came from.