In tonight’s news, a man recounts his terrifying encounter with two otters while swimming at Serene Lakes, located northwest of Lake Tahoe. He is now urging the state to address the issue before someone else gets hurt.
ABC 10’s Roxan Leas shares the details. The man describes the attack as a relentless assault, with the otters repeatedly biting him and causing severe injuries to his arm.
Matt Leers, the victim, bears the scars from this traumatic incident that occurred in September. He explains that despite his calls for help, the cold temperature deterred people from coming to his aid. Fortunately, his wife appeared unexpectedly on a paddleboard and rescued him.
Leers was subsequently treated for around 40 puncture wounds at a hospital. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife acknowledges the attack and confirms the presence of the otters at Serene Lakes, where they have occasionally appeared for years as a native species in their natural habitat.
Although river otter attacks are rare, the department reports three incidents this year at Serene Lakes alone. Leers expresses his concern that the next victim might be a child who is unable to escape from the water. He suggests addressing the issue by discontinuing fish stocking at the lakes, which may redirect the otters to find food elsewhere. Leers emphasizes that immediate action is necessary to prevent further harm.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has installed trail cameras and is closely monitoring the otters, and they will attend a community meeting at Serene Lakes on November 28th to discuss the situation..