Reports of this animal’s demise were otter nonsense.
A wild giant river otter feared to be extinct in Argentina was recently spotted swimming in the country’s Bermejo River, according to local conservationists.
“It was a huge surprise,” Sebastián Di Martino, director of conservation at Fundación Rewilding Argentina told The Guardian.
“I was incredulous. An incredible feeling of so much happiness,” Di Martino said of the sighting. “I didn’t know if I should try to follow it or rush back to our station to tell the others.”
The species, officially called Pteronura brasiliensis, had not been seen in the South American country since the 1980s, with the last sighting in Bermejo recorded more than a century ago, according to the report.
Di Martino reportedly spotted the otter while kayaking in Impenetrable National Park, located in the Chaco province of northeast Argentina.
“We grabbed the cell phone and started filming it, when he poked his body out of the water and showed the unmistakable white bib, we had no doubts, it was a giant river otter,” Di Martino told Gizmodo.
The conservation group shared footage last week of the animal the water mammal bobbing its head in and out of the river.
“[Y]our legs go weak and your heart starts beating faster,” Di Martino told The Guardian about his experience seeing the long-lost species.
The sighting gives conservationists hope that the river can sustain the species if it receives proper environmental protection.
The organization has reportedly been trying to re-introduce otters into national parks for years so they can regulate fish populations.
The Chaco region of the country where the otter was found is under constant threat of deforestation, illegal hunting and development, the reports said.