Saturday, 18 January 2014

Why, I otter...

In mid-November last year, news of another New Zealand cryptid raised its whiskery head...

Invercargill-based author Lloyd Esler made the news as he carried out research into sightings of the elusive New Zealand otter for a chapter of his upcoming book.
"I have spoken with 11 people who are either adamant they have seen an otter or are puzzled by an otter-like animal" Esler remarked. Particularly intrigued by the number of sightings and their concentration in one area, he admitted that this suggests a mystery animal existed in Western Southland.

Going  on to speculate about escaped imported otters giving rise to a small population, Esler surprisingly made no mention of the long history of the Waitoreke, or Kaukere, a supposed native mammal resembling an otter, (or in some cases, beaver) first mentioned by Captain Cook.

The infographic below gives a more detailed history of this intriguing, but admittedly unlikely, creature. It is interesting to note that in many cases sightings were made by people very capable of discerning an unknown creature from more common introduced species.