Rick Perry discovered these skeletons at a dumping site on the Duncan Bay Main logging road west of Campbell River. Photo by Rick Perry

New conclusion reached in Campbell River animal skeleton mystery – otters

A verdict is in on the animal skeletons that were dumped on a logging road near Campbell River last month and it’s not what was initially thought.

The skeletons were discovered on the Duncan Bay Main logging road west of Campbell River on March 23 by Rick Perry who posted a picture of them on Facebook asking what people thought they were.

Conservation Officer James Hilgemann saw the pictures and initially concluded they were probably wolf or cougar skeletons inappropriately disposed of by a hunter. But after Hilgemann got the opportunity to get out to the site and see the skeletons for himself, he sent pictures to the provincial veterenarian.

The conclusion? Otters; either sea or river otters.

“I took photographs. One of the rear feet had some webbed padding so it looked like, you know, otter, so I fired those off to our provincial vet and she made the determination that (they were) probably, likely river otter, although maybe sea otter as well,” Hilgemann said.

Without collecting DNA, it could not be conclusive but it was “definitely the otter family,” Hilgemann said.

There is a trapping season for river otter and Hilgemann said he has been told that there is a ceremonial harvest of sea otters – the pelts for regalia, for example.

“But just the fact that there’s seven or eight skeletons leads me to believe that likely it’s a cache from a trapper,” Hilgemann said.

A trapper will tend his traps and stash the harvest in the freezer and then process the animals at the end of the season and end up dumping the animals together.

“That’s kind of my gut feeling,” Hilgemann said.

Dumping animal remains is not illegal, although it is recommended by the Ministry of Environment that they be disposed away from human habitation and the likelihood of being seen by the public, which was not done in this case. They were dumped with a piles of other trash.

The skeletons in the picture make it difficult to gain a sense of the scale of the animals leading to speculation about them being larger animals like wolves or cougars but in person the remains were about the size of a Labrador retreiver, Hilgemann said.

The conclusion will please some people who commented on the pictures when they were initially posted on the Facebook site, Campbell River rant, rave and randomness. A couple of commenters guessed they were otters while others ranged from deer and elk or even dogs. There were some actual deer and elk remains dumped near the otter skeletons.

Just Posted

Hearing begins to determine fate of Nanaimo’s Discontent City

City of Nanaimo’s legal counsel calls tent city disruptive

Investigators find fire causes tough to pin down

Multiple structure fires under investigation, but clues to what sparked them remain elusive

Bathtub collector coins freshly minted

Frank Ney’s 100th birthday the theme of Nanaimo Marine Festival souvenir coins

Column: The struggle to make Nanaimo a ‘destination’

Why visit Nanaimo? Ask a handful of people and you’ll probably get a handful of answers

Summer of our Discontent: homeless camp a contentious issue

City of Nanaimo, tent city going to court this week to settle differences

Nanaimo Concert Band to perform at Maffeo Sutton Park

Group will play marches, swing and show tunes at free evening concert

Silly boats make a splash on Nanaimo seas

Superette wins Nanaimo’s Silly Boat Regatta community fundraising event

Florist announces bid for Nanaimo city council

Jim Turley, former owner of Turley’s Florist, intends to run in fall election

VIDEO: Firefighters putting out brush fire in East Wellington

Fire is in the area of a new development under construction near Shady Mile Way

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Most Read