The New Banks of the Yellowstone River Otter Exhibit is Open!
After ten years of design and construction, the Center’s newest addition is now open. Featuring North American River Otters, the new series of exhibits takes each guest on a journey of discovery. Take a stroll through a Yellowstone riparian habitat next to simulated ponds, streams and waterfalls. Experience the diversity of wetlands and learn how all members of the ecosystem are interconnected – especially grizzly bears and gray wolves. Located adjacent to the River Valley Wolf Habitat, this unique indoor series of displays features large Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout and Arctic Grayling aquariums, but the River Otters are sure to captivate visitors of all ages with their boundless energy. Additionally, you can spend time learning about the importance of riparian habitats through a series of graphics and interactive displays. Children will especially enjoy exploring a special streamside hands-on venue where they can seek out signs of wildlife in a riparian habitat. Reptile and amphibian displays will be added in the very near future.
Some research in Yellowstone suggests a trophic cascade between wolves and riparian vegetation. Prior to wolf reintroduction in 1995, plants like willow and aspen were over-grazed. However, once on the landscape, wolves began to reduce the burgeoning elk population. This in turn allowed riparian areas to grow back and flourish. Most ecosystems are best when there is biodiversity or balance.
In addition to viewing otters and fish, visitors can see invertebrates and amphibians including the seldom seen, seclusive Western Tiger Salamander and learn how the introduction of lake trout has affected cutthroat populations.
Come visit and watch the otters play while getting a complete understanding of the intricacies of the Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Otters are a favorite among wildlife watchers. These water mammals are very social and are always at play. They inhabit the shorelines of lakes and rivers. Their main food source is the cutthroat trout, whitefish and clams. Click here to meet the otters.
Arctic grayling is a species of freshwater fish in the salmon family. They are found throughout the Arctic and Pacific drainages in Canada, Alaska, and Siberia, as well as the upper Missouri River drainage in Montana.
They are an important species in Yellowstone National Park, upon which many other species depend. They provide an important source of food for an estimated 20 species of birds, and mammals including bears, river otters, and mink.
Amphibians are an important part of Yellowstone’s aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Many of Yellowstone’s reptiles, birds, mammals, and fish prey on larval and adult amphibians and amphibians, in turn, eat a variety of vertebrate and invertebrate species.