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Otter attack on Jefferson River injures three 

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Though cute from a distance, river otters are wild animals and can be aggressive when a threat is perceived. ADOBE STOCK PHOTO


Three women were injured by otters while floating the Jefferson River on Wednesday evening, according to a press release from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  

The attack occurred around 8:15 p.m., roughly three miles upstream from the Sappington Bridge, a popular boat launch located in Three Forks. The three victims were floating on inner tubes and observed one or two otters, one of which “approached and attacked them,” according to the release.  

The women escaped and the otter swam away. They called 911, and at least five agencies responded, plus a local landowner. All three women were injured and received medical care in Bozeman. The most seriously injured of the three was transported via helicopter.  

FWP, one of the agencies that responded to the incident, posted signs at nearby fishing access sites to warn recreationists.  

“While attacks from otters are rare, otters can be protective of themselves and their young, especially at close distances. They give birth to their young in April and can later be seen with their young in the water during the summer. They may also be protective of food resources, especially when those resources are scarce. Otters are members of the weasel family,” the release stated.  

FWP added a reminder to give space to wildlife, and to fight back against an aggressive otter if necessary, before getting out of the water.  

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