Eurasian Otter spotted in Kerala

News Excerpt:
A team of researchers from Kerala has claimed to have spotted the presence of Eurasian Otter (Lutra lutra) in the state at Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary in Idukki for the first time. 

  • The discovery in the western Ghats has added another member to Kerala's mammal list.
  • With this, there are three species of otters found in Kerala, including Smooth-coated Otter and Small-clawed Otter.

About Eurasian Otter: (Lutra lutra)

  • IUCN RED LIST status: Near Threatened, CITES:   Appendix I
  • The Eurasian otter has one of the widest distributions of all palearctic mammals, from Ireland to China and down to Southeast Asia. In India, it occurs in northern, northeast and southern India. Formerly widely distributed in Japan, it is now believed to be extinct there.
  • This playful otter has a varied diet which includes fish, crustaceans, amphibians and sometimes reptiles, birds, eggs, insects and worms. 
  • It is usually nocturnal and can be found in many freshwater environments. In some environments, however, such as the Scottish Isles, it has diurnal habits and forages in the sea, later looking for freshwater pools to wash the salt out of its pelt. 
  • The Eurasian otter is solitary, but sometimes it is seen in family groups, composed of a mother and her offspring.
  • Threats: pollution, poaching, habitat loss, accidental trapping, road kill.

About Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary: 

  • It is an exclusive thorny forest pervaded with xerophyte species. 
  • The sanctuary falls into the rain-shadow area of the Western Ghats and is home to the exotic species of Giant Grizzled Squirrel of India whose number is less than 200 in the entire forest region. 
  • Fauna: Gaur, spotted dear, elephants, hanuman langur, sambar and peacocks 
  • Flora: Sandalwood forest, a mix of dense vegetation of deciduous forest


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