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IUCN/SCC Otter Specialist Group Bulletin
© IUCN/SCC Otter Specialist Group

Volume 16 Issue 2 Pages 58 - 110 (October 1999)

Abstracts

Protecting Otters in a Non-Megadiverse Third World Country
Pages 63 - 64 (Viewpoint)
Alvaro Soutullo
Abstract
The world-wide protection of areas of great conservation value should be everybody's concern, as the loss of biological diversity is everybody's problem. As most of these areas are located in poor or developing countries with few opportunities to invest in biodiversity conservation, the rest of the countries, and especially those with better economic conditions, should support the protection of those key areas.  Although people in third world countries are involved in the development of these areas, the impetus and equipment for the change is usually from elsewhere, and the products and profits usually also go elsewhere.  Why then should only the local people be held responsible?
Contents | Full Text + Links | PDF (30 K)

Survey of Danish Free Living Otters Lutra lutra - a Consecutive Collection and Necroscopy of Dead Bodies.
Pages 65 - 76 (Article)
Aksel Bo Madsen, Hans Henrik Dietz, Per Henriksen and Bjarne Clausen
Abstract
During 1979-1993 194 dead Danish otters Lutra lutra were received. Of these, 145 were necropsied and the cause of death, sex, age and body condition determined. Traffic mortality (45.4%) and drowning (32.5%) constituted the major cause of death. Shot-gun lead pellets were detected in 5% of the otters. Inclusion bodies indicating distemper virus infection were found for the first time in a free living otter population. Angistrongylus vasorum larvae were found in the lungs of free living otters for the first time. No ectoparasites were found. Infectious agents were detected in 22.1 % of the otters although only few otters appeared to have died from infections. The age distribution was not significantly different between the two sexes. Body condition for otters, which died violently in Denmark was comparable to findings in Shetland, where thriving populations exist. The results showed a considerable decrease in number of otters found drowned in fish traps coinciding with the introduction of stop grids in fish traps in 1986. The results suggest that the existing otter population in Denmark is healthy and in good condition but it cannot be excluded that the large number of otters killed by traffic threatens the continued expansion of the species.
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Comparative Analysis or the Helminthocenoses of the Native Semiaquatic Mustelids (Lutra lutra, Mustela lutreola) in Connection with the Width of Food Spectra
Pages 76 - 78 (Report)
Vadim Sidorovich and Elena I. E. Anisimova
Abstract:
The helminth fauna of mink (Mustela lutreola) was compared with that of otters (Lutra lutra) and found to be more diverse.  This probably reflects the fact that otters are more specialist predators than mink, and therefore exposed to fewer infesting sources of eggs and larvae.
Contents | Full Text + Links | PDF (38 K)

Results of the 1999 Survey of the Reintroduced Sea Otter Population in Washington State
Pages 79 - 85 (Report)
Ronald J. Jameson and Steven Jeffries
Abstract:
Fifty-nine sea otters were released off the west coast of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State during the summers of 1969 and 1970; all had been translocated from Amchitka Island, Alaska. In 1970, 30 otters were released. Surveys to assess the results of this translocation began in 1977. Up to 1989, the population has grown at near the maximum rate of increase (rmax) for sea otter populations of 17-20% yr-1. Since 1989, however, the rate of increase appears to have declined to about 11% yr-1. The results of the survey this year are encouraging and indicate the population has been growing at a finite rate of about 11% since 1989.
Contents | Full Text + Links | PDF (192 K)

Report on the Rehabilitation and Release of Two Giant River Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) Pups in the Bita River (Vichada, Colombia)
Pages 86 - 89 (Report)
Juan Ricardo Gómez, Jeffrey P. Jorgenson and Ricardo Valbuena
Abstract
Two Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) cubs were rehabilitated and released successfully and adopted into wild otter groups.  The protocol used is presented.  For a successful rehabilitation and release program, it is necessary to understand the basic ecology and behaviour of the species, as well as to have the appropriate facilities, feeding protocols, and adequate veterinary services available.
Contents | Full Text + Links | PDF (49 K)

An Overview of the Giant Otter-Fisherman Problem in the Orinoco Basin of Colombia
Pages 90 - 96 (Report)
Juan Ricardo Gómez and Jeffrey P. Jorgenson
The giant otter faces a new threat in the Orinoco Basin because fishermen in that area see it as a competitor. This study examines the species of fish caught by commercial and sport fishermen in the area and compares it to the species eaten by the otters. Although overlap exists in some of the families of fish that the otter consumes and those that the fishermen of the area extract, the competition for fish is minimal. Although we cannot ignore that a problem exists between otters and in particular the commercial fishermen, this is not because of any impact that the otter has on the populations of fish. Rather, the problem can be attributed to the local inhabitants' lack of information about the importance of the otter as a key species of the ecosystem.
Contents | Full Text + Links | PDF (208 K)

Contaminants in Otter, Mink and Marten in British Colombia
Pages 97 - 101 (Article Summary)
Lee Harding
As a continuation of studies of mustelids on the Columbia and Fraser River systems in north-western North America, chlorinated hydrocarbon and trace metal contamination of mink, marten and river otter were assessed in relation to physiological and reproductive measures of condition. Mink, marten and river otter were collected during the winters 1994/95 and 1995/96 from commercial trappers. Necropsies included evaluation of the following biological parameters: sex, body mass and length, age, thymus, heart, liver, lung, spleen, pancreas, kidney, gonad, omentum, adrenal gland and baculum (in males) masses, baculum length, and stomach contents. Livers were analysed, individually or in pools, for residues of organochlorine (OC) pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and dibenzofurans (PCDFs). Contamination levels were relatively low compared to those documented in other North American populations, although they ranged higher than those detected during an earlier survey (1990-92) of these regional populations. Nutritional condition varied slightly amongst collection regions, but showed no relationships with contaminant burdens. Specifically, mink from the upper Fraser River appeared to have less fat stores (evaluated by stomach contents and omentum mass), but also showed some of the lowest OC contamination levels observed. Similarly, a few individuals with enlarged livers and kidneys had unremarkable contamination profiles. Although a few individuals with gross abnormalities of reproductive systems did not show high levels of contamination, there was a significant negative correlation between Aroclor 1260 concentrations and baculum length in juvenile mink. The influence of baculum length on reproductive success is unknown, but given similar associations found in juvenile otter from Oregon, the incidence of smaller baculum size and its influence on reproduction needs to be further characterized in a larger subset of these populations. Also, the bias against collection of females introduced by using commercial traps may underestimate the true contaminant burden in the subset most likely to show detrimental reproductive effects. Other means of collecting breeding-age females should be explored.
Contents | Full Text + Links | PDF (130 K)

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