The Wild Center family expanded this summer when two male North American river otters made their debut in Otter Falls on Saturday, June 22. The pair’s Kaniehkehaka names – Tawi:ne and Rohsno:re – were revealed on Saturday, July 6 as part of The Wild Center’s Ways of Knowing celebration.
The Wild Center’s Curator, Leah Valerio, worked with the Akwesasne Boys and Girls Club to name the two new otters. As part of the Club’s end of year party, Valerio taught the group about North American river otters, painted otter faces on the kids and led a discussion in which the youth developed suitable names for the pair. The students chose Tawi:ne (da-WEE-nay) meaning “otter” and Rohsno:re (low-SNOW-lay) meaning “he’s fast” in the Kaniehkehaka language. The project works to keep the spirit alive of the lasting Ways of Knowing partnership between The Wild Center and the Haudenosaunee community.
“The kids were so much fun – silly, inquisitive and just generally a joy to be around,” explained Leah Valerio. “I’ve never met a more helpful bunch. They all asked how they could help.” The pair began their journey to The Wild Center in Ohio where they were trapped as nuisance animals. Trapped river otters are often slated to be killed and used for fur, or in some cases, relocated to areas without enough food to survive. The Wild Center’s Animal Care staff was made aware of their situation and jumped at the opportunity to rescue the pair.
About Ways of Knowing
Indigenous voices come together to bring you Ways of Knowing. Working in partnership, the Akwesasne Cultural Center, The Six Nations Indian Museum, the Native North American Travelling College and The Wild Center unite to broaden and heighten our understanding and appreciation of the natural world. The collaborative and multi-faceted project opened at The Wild Center in 2018 and encourages visitors to continue their exploration at the Akwesasne Cultural Center in the Mohawk community of Akwesasne, The Six Nations Indian Museum in Onchiota and the Native North American Travelling College on Cornwall Island.