Eurasian Otter found in Western Ghats after 70 years.

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    16th Oct, 2018

Eurasian otter has been recorded historically from the Western Ghats but first photographic and genetic confirmation of its presence have been found.

Context

  • Eurasian otter has been recorded historically from the Western Ghats but first photographic and genetic confirmation of its presence have been found.
  • Ironically, researchers found the dead otter after a vehicle ran over it near a fragmented rainforest in Tamil Nadu’s Valparai.

About

Eurasian otter

  • Out of the three otter species found in India (Western Ghats), Eurasian otter is the least known.
  • The Eurasian Otter (lutralutra) is also known as European otter, Eurasian river otter, common otter and Old world otter.
  • It is a semi aquatic mammal which is commonly native to Eurasia.
  • It has a diet mainly of fish and is strongly territorial.
  • Otters are often illegally poached for pets. It is Nearly Threatened.

 

Distribution

  • The species is found mainly across Europe, northern Africa and other south Asian countries.
  • Ireland has the highest density of Eurasian Otter.
  • In India, it is distributed in the Himalayan foothills, southern Western Ghats and the Central India.

Protection:

  • It is protected by the Wildlife Protection Act (1972).
  • All 3 species of otters in India are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act and are listed in CITES Appendices.
  1. Eurasian Otter –  CITES Appendix I; WPA Schedule II
  2. Smooth Coated Otter – CITES Appendix II; WPA Schedule II
  3. Clawless Otter – CITES Appendix II; WPA Schedule I

Need of the hour:

  • There should be detailed surveys and studies to ascertain more about the occurrence of Eurasian Otters in India.
  • Otter roadkills — caused by increasing fragmentation of forests and modification of their original habitats — are becoming increasingly common, which is a grave matter of concern.
  • The illegal poaching of Eurasian Otters for their pelts should be banned.

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