Eurasian Otter found in Western Ghats after 70 years.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Eurasian Otter – CITES Appendix I; WPA Schedule II
- Smooth Coated Otter – CITES Appendix II; WPA Schedule II
- 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.