'He could be in a lot of danger': Baby otter spotted with ring around neck on Hecla Island

A Manitoba woman hopes conservation officers can help save a baby otter after she spotted it with what looked like a mason jar ring around its neck.

Jani Witoski, who lives in Portage la Prairie, was staying at a bed and breakfast on Hecla Island, about 140 kilometres north of Winnipeg, over the weekend. On Saturday, she was taking pictures of hummingbirds when she saw a female otter with two babies run through the yard.

She followed them down to the shore of Lake Winnipeg, when she noticed one of the babies had something stuck around its neck.

"It upsets me so much," Witoski said. "We're responsible for our garbage, we're responsible for our footprint. So to have something that was accessed by accident by an innocent animal is really sad, and it could cost the little guy's life."

The baby appeared to be in good health, running and swimming after its mother, but Witoski worries what will happen if it doesn't get the ring off.

"If he grows much more, he could be in a lot of danger. It could cut off his air or he might not be able to eat properly, and therefore it could kill him."

She called conservation officers, who said they would go and look for the otter. She said the owner of the bed and breakfast sees the otters running through the yard multiple times a day, so she's hopeful.

She also hopes that by sharing the photos and story on social media, it encourages people to be more careful when disposing of their garbage.

"It's just carelessness," she said. "Our litter is ruining the lives of innocent animals, you know plastic bags and pop rings and stuff like that. It's pretty bad."