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

Faulty transmission line in Campbell River caused loud noise, flickering lights, says BC Hydro

Natural gas power plant went offline following BC Hydro equipment failure

Divers bring up more tires, crab traps and old bottles from the water

For the first five years of its annual clean-up of the waters… Continue reading

May thinks time is right for Greens to make gains

Green Party leader in Campbell River for event with local candidate Mark de Bruijn

Strathcona Regional District looking at pay hikes for board members

The Strathcona Regional District board is planning on a pay raise. At… Continue reading

City still fighting for long-term plan for Snowden

Another letter from the province without ‘tangible response’ spurs mayor to request in-person meeting

The good, bad and the unknown of Apple’s new services

The announcements lacked some key details, such as pricing of the TV service

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

SPCA seizes 54 animals from Vernon property

Animals weren’t receiving adequate care

Morneau unveils principles for Indigenous ownership in Trans Mountain pipeline

The controversial pipeline was bought by Ottawa last year

Refugee who sheltered Edward Snowden in Hong Kong arrives in Canada

Vanessa Rodel and her seven-year-old daughter Keana arrived in Toronto this week

New UMSCA trade deal getting a boost from Trump, business groups

The trade deal is designed to supplant the North American Free Trade Agreement

Trudeau says he, Wilson-Raybould had cordial conversation last week

Trudeau denies anything improper occurred regarding SNC-Lavalin and the PMO

SNC-Lavalin backtracks on CEO’s comments surrounding potential job losses

Top boss had said protecting 9,000 jobs should grant leniency

Vancouver Island home to B.C.’s luckiest lotto store

Five million-dollar winners bought tickets from same Port Alberni corner store

Most Read