CHACO PROVENCE, Argentina - A giant river otter hadn’t been spotted inside El Impenetrable National Park in more than 30 years, but that all changed on May 16.
Sebastian Di Martino, conservation director of the Rewilding Argentina Foundation, was kayaking that day when he came upon the otter in the Bermejo River. Prior to that, experts believed the creature to be locally extinct.
"The last confirmed records of giant otter family groups in Argentina are from the 1980s," the foundation wrote in a post on its Facebook page. "From then on, only a few inaccurate records of solitary specimens are known. In the Bermejo River the extinction was verified much earlier, at least 100 years ago. Or so we thought."
The foundation said the white markings on the animal’s chest confirmed it was a giant river otter.
According to National Geographic, the giant river otter can reach six feet in length and weigh 75 pounds. They’re only found in certain South American river systems, like the Amazon and its tributaries.
This story was reported from Atlanta.