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December 30th, 2020 by

The species is now widely distributed across the river systems and reser-voirs, and can even be found in the highly urban city centre. A smooth-coated otter family is made up of monogamous parents, subadults, and between four and six pups. Its range is vast all over south and southeast Asia. [1] As its name indicates, its fur is smooth and shorter than that of other otter species. It grows from 4.9 to 5.9 feet (1.5 to 1.8 meters) long. They walk several survey routes on the island using GPS devices to manually record the extents of different vegetation types, areas frequented by otters, and other points of interest, including sluice gates, farms, and fishing areas. Although these cameras are currently WOR’s primary source of data, they are also a source of frustration for the researchers, as they have sometimes proven to be unreliable in the mangrove environment. [3] They rest on sandy riverbanks and establish their dens under tree roots or among boulders. Smooth-coated otters don’t see very well in the dark, and most peninsular Indian rivers have murky waters. This return of the Smooth-coated otters … Depending on the season, family groups range from 5 to 40 members. The natives call this otter fisi maji, which means “water hyena” in Swahili. [11] Skins of smooth-coated otters were found during surveys between 2005 and 2012 in the vicinity of Hammar and Hawizeh Marshes. An isolated population is also found in the marshes of Iraq. Video courtesy of Wild Otters Research. The otter is lithe and slender with short legs, a strong neck, and a long flat tail that helps propel it gracefully through water. “You get a much more holistic view of an area when you have both groundwork and drone-imagery and satellite imagery on top of that,” said Shashank Srinivasan, director of Technology for Wildlife. The other interesting fact about otters is that a single romp can have a large home range (what we now term an ‘otter corridor’). The fur is mostly dark with yellow or white markings on the chin and neck, while their feet have claws and webbing. The smooth-coated otter is threatened by poaching, loss and destruction of wetlands, as these are converted for settlements, agriculture and hydroelectric projects; water courses are being polluted by pesticides such as chlorinated hydrocarbons and organophosphates. In the UK IOSF is the only charity solely dedicated to the conservation, protection and care of otters based on years of scientific research in the UK and around the world. Lutrogale was proposed as generic name by John Edward Gray in 1865 for otters with a convex forehead and nose, using perspicillata as type species. [10], The population in the Mesopotamian Marshes was feared to have perished, but otter tracks were found in 2009, suggesting the population may have survived. But where it is sympatric with other otter species, it avoids smaller streams and canals in favour of larger water bodies. As the name suggests, these Otters don’t have claws. Habitat and Distribution. Smooth-coated Otter. Rounder heads and flatter tails are two characteristics by which one may distinguish this otter species. [1], It occurs in areas where fresh water is plentiful — wetlands and seasonal swamps, rivers, lakes, and rice paddies. Otters are indiscriminately killed especially at aquaculturesites. “There’s not much written about smooth-coated otters in mangroves…especially in a human-dominated landscape,” said Katrina Fernandez, a member of the IUCN Otter Specialist Group and director of Wild Otters Research (WOR), a research and conservation organization. The techniques involved—photogrammetry, making measurements from a set of overlapping images for 3D models and orthomosaics, creating overlapped, geometrically corrected aerial images for 2D maps—essentially boil down to extracting meaning from the individual pixels in the images. Smooth coated otter is called "Oodh Balao" in Urdu language and the sub-species found in Pakistan is known as Sindh otter. In that way, drone imagery is very complementary to ground-based work, and it really fills a gap in the entire process.”. Smooth-coated ot­ters are so­cial and hunt in groups. Dryness? Like other semi-aquatic creatures, they can seal off their ears and nose when they dive underwater, so their sinuses stay dry. [1], Along the Chambal River in India, smooth-coated otters are most vulnerable during winter when they rear young. It is possible to introduce to each other at all age; it is infinitely more successful when the otters are young (IUCN/SSC, 2008). They have adapt well to human environments in Singapore, and had been observed to use urban structures (e.g. In 2015, it has been reassessed as Near Threatened. It is possible to introduce to each other at all age; it is infinitely more successful when the otters are young (IUCN/SSC, 2008). [9], The smooth-coated otter has been recorded in Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, southwest China, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesian islands of Borneo, Sumatra and Java, and Brunei. This animal’s lovely waterproof pelt, which allows it to regulate its temperature, in the 1700s-1800s, a regular part of French fur trade, has meant this animal has been hunted for hundreds of years. In this formation, they undulated wildly through the creek, causing panic‑stricken fish to jump out of the water a few metres ahead. North American river otters are the only river otter that is found north of Mexico. [10][16], In Kuala Selangor Nature Park, an otter group was observed hunting. The largest individuals occupied the middle section. Smooth-coated otter Transfer from Appendix II to Appendix I The Smooth-coated otter can reach a body length of 65 to 79 cm. for females. Inside the lion indoor area is the fennec foxes. It is a relatively large otter, from 7 to 11 kg (15 to 24 lb) in weight and 59 to 64 cm (23 to 25 in) in head-body length, with a tail 37 to 43 cm (15 to 17 in) long. In Cambodia they’re known as the “black otter,” to distinguish them from the “grey otter” or Smooth Coated Otter. I have been studying the smooth-coated otter in human modified landscape for over six years. Although the smooth-coated otter has been documented across large parts of south and southeast Asia, their presence on Chorao has required them to adjust to a variety of vegetation types, most of which are subject to anthropogenic … Lastly, very little is known about the smooth-coated otter because of low population numbers and its rather elusive nature; thus, interspecific interactions between L. lutra and the smooth-coated otter are virtually unknown (Wright et al. Picture going on vacation. They are mainly diurnal, and have a short lull in activity during midday. They reach adult size at about a year of age, and sexual maturity at two or three years. Also, it’s quite hard to tell what the actual habitat is from the satellite image alone,” said Sophie Darnton, a research intern with WOR. Another lineage contained ... Lutrogale p. sindica holds the palest fur, likely an adaptation to the arid nature of its habitat, with the general hue of the upper side being tawny or sandy brown instead of darker brown with a rusty Passed the flamingos you’ll see our family of smooth coated otters. They use scent to com­mu­ni­cate both within the otter species, and with other an­i­mals. Theft and displacement by curious locals also threaten the cameras. Infanticide could be an adaptation that (1) increases resource acquisition (cannibalism), (2) excludes competitors for the agent or its kin, (3) increases the inclusive fitness of one or both parents, or (4) increases the reproductive success of adult males unrelated to the infant. This is also an adaptation. Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center. Otters roll in dirt or vegetation to communicate their presence and possibly their identification through scent marking. perspicillata, smooth-coated otter) and Africa (Aonyx capensis, African clawless otter). Most people might imagine a beach resort or a hike through a tropical forest. HUSBANDRY. The smooth-coated otter has a short and sleek fur that is dark to reddish brown along the back, but light brown to almost grey on the underside. Smooth-coated otters are adapted to water but are equally comfortable being on land and are able to travel long … Natural History/Description. Srinivasan said the results of the pilot study suggested that drone mapping can replace many components of traditional fieldwork. Thus, the adaptability of Smooth‐coated otters … The pups reach adult size after about a year. [19], So long as the food supply is sufficient, they breed throughout the year, but where otters are dependent on monsoons for precipitation, breeding occurs between October and February. Once they are in a… “The fact that the smooth-coated otter is so adaptable to change and to human-dominated landscapes, enabling it to coexist within this ecosystem, is fascinating,” she added. This species can reach lengths of 1.3 m and can weigh up to 11 kg. Tracks and scat found in Erbil Province were also thought to have been left by smooth-coated otters. You saw above that these otters sometimes move into flooded areas and back out. Variation in terrestrial mammalian skull morphology is known to constrain feeding performance, which in turn influences dietary habits and ultimately fitness. The reclaimed khazan lands in particular, which are under perennial threat of being overrun by the mangroves that originally owned them, are the subject of a constant tug of war. Its tail is flattened, in contrast to the more rounded tails of other otters. The smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) is an otter species occurring in most of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, with a disjunct population in Iraq. These factors lead to a reduced prey base. Size. It is detrimentally affected by international trade and habitat loss. 3.3.2 Smooth-coated otter and hairy-nosed otter ..... 31 3.3.3 Irrawaddy Dolphin ... stakeholders, with the VA being a first step towards adaptation planning. Processing the resulting data, however, can take up to a week and constitutes the core value addition that Srinivasan and his company provide. A camera trap captures a family of smooth-coated otters. This is the largest otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) in Asia, and like all otters it has a long, thick body, short legs, and webbed feet with sharp claws. 2. They have several adaptation for the wetland habitat like partially webbed feet and water resistant fur. Territories differ from home ranges. The aquatic genet (Genetta piscivora) is a genet that has only been recorded in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mildly, in the sense that they form small family groups. “At some point, I want to look into just manufacturing our own,” she added. Although adapted for water, smooth-coated otters are equally comfortable on land and can travel … They formed an undulating, slightly V-shaped line, pointing in the direction of movement and nearly as wide as the creek. When they move, they are following the movement of fish. They are bred in captivity, trained, and used to chase fish into fishing nets. Fernandez and her team have observed unique behavioral adaptations by otters living in this human-dominated khazan ecosystem. The usual litter size is up to five pups, and is born after a gestation period of 60 to 63 days. Srinivasan conducts drone mapping using relatively inexpensive quadcopter drones that carry standard RGB cameras. Even when they’re not fiddling with the cameras, nearby humans inform the way WOR designs its research and conservation efforts. The need to frequently change batteries and the lack of high-quality microphones on these cameras are also pain points for the researchers. Significant otter population lie outside the protected area; human-otter co-existence is crucial for their survival. It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1996 and is threatened by habitat loss, pollution of wetlands and poaching for the illegal wildlife trade. River otter species hunt and travel in the water, but frequently rest and play on land. The giant otter or giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is a South American carnivorous mammal. Photogrammetic mapping using drones generates 3D models of the landscape below, allowing researchers to pinpoint even minor changes to habitats in areas that are inaccessible to humans. The organizations are now awaiting responses to their grant proposals and clarity on India’s new regulatory framework for drone activity, which has left the rules for flight permissions in a state of uncertainty. It is found throughout the Indian subcontinent and in south-east Asia. 5, p. 616. 2008). The most obvious of the adaptations that these otters have made is learning to live within the constraints of the khazans, a type of human-created landscape unique to Goa. Hartley R., 2011 had mentioned that as a social animal, the smooth-coated otter lives in family groups consisting of a male, dominant female and cubs. Although it is often found in saltwater near the coast, especially on smaller islands, it requires a nearby source of fresh water. In Praise of Mangroves. These otters have generally been described as fish specialist. “The fact that the smooth-coated otter is so adaptable to change and to human-dominated landscapes, enabling it to coexist within this ecosystem, is fascinating,” she added. Ringed seals are Knowing which actions of the human community are affecting the animal and which are not is paramount to any realistic conservation efforts.”. o Minimum Husbandry Guidelines for Smooth-coated Otters in Captivity (Wright 2008) o Minimum Husbandry Guidelines for Asian small-clawed Otter (Wright 2008) o Additionally, there are several other very useful reprints. Smooth Coated Otter Natural History. Since it is only known from about 30 specimens in zoological collections, it had been listed as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List since 1996, as it is considered one of Africa's rarest carnivores. “It is an exciting time for drones in general and specifically for conservation work,” he added, “because there’s so much potential to help save wildlife and the environment.”. The coast of the Pacific, especially to the east and north, is home to the magnificent sea otter. WOR also collaborated with Technology for Wildlife, a geospatial data company helping groups use technology to conserve wildlife and the environment, to carry out a drone mapping pilot study in Chorao in May and June of 2018. Snakes, amphibians and insects constitute a small portion of their diet. hbspt.cta.load(5981609, 'ffe07749-0055-4a95-85b3-bce123fc330c', {}); Mongabay is a U.S.-based non-profit conservation and environmental science news platform. 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