We took two of our granddaughters to the zoo on Saturday. It was a typical fall day with changeable skies and chilly winds, so we dashed inside an exhibit building for some warmth. The girls were immediately mesmerized by the otters happily swimming in their outdoor water habitat behind a huge wall of viewing glass. I was, too. Their ease in the water and joy in their surroundings held me captive. Having closed our pool for the season over a month ago, I must also admit to a twinge of envy that they, at least, were still swimming.

Our zoo has taken an active role in reintroducing the otter back to Western New York waters after decades of over-hunting by trappers and fishermen who wrongly believe that otters compete with them for game fish. Otters’ habitats also face destruction from pollution and disease-causing parasites contained in runoff. Fortunately, the Endangered Species Act now protects these beautiful creatures.

When will people learn that their actions bear direct consequences on the balance of life on our planet?

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