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

Volume 21 Issue 1Pages Pages 1 - 55 (July 2004)


Why Philosophers Should Be Interested In Otters, And Why Otters Should Be Interested In Philosophy
Pages 5 - 9 (Viewpoint)
Bram E. van Liere
In this article the reintroduction of otters in the Netherlands is discussed in the light of the debate in academic philosphy between ecocentric and biocentric philosophy. The ethical judgement of both ecocentric and biocentric philosophers on reintroduction are extracted and reviewed. The debate described in this article shows the ethical difficulties of the reintroduction of otters in the Netherlands and of reintroductions in general.
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Neotropical River Otter Micro-Habitat Preference In West-Central Chihuahua, Mexico
Pages 10 - 15 (Article)
Eduardo Carrillo-Rubio, Alberto Lafón
We characterised habitat selected by the Neotropical otter (Lontra longicaudis) in the Río San Pedro, located in the central portion of the State of Chihuahua in Northern Mexico. We monitored a 30 km stretch of the river for over two years and compared micro-site habitat characteristics at 21 used and 25 random sites. Characteristics of habitat preferred by the otter included pools that averaged >0.8 m deep, >14.6 m wide, >64% under-story vegetation cover, and rock talus/vegetation cover within 4.8 m.
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Captive Reproduction Of The Neotropical Otter In The Santa Fe Zoological Park In Medellin, Colombia
Pages 16 - 18 (Report)
Diego A. Arcila, Marcela Ramírez
Knowledge regarding reproduction of Lontra longicaudis is lacking. We present the first experience of Neotropical river otters born in captivity in Colombia. Of three parturitions registered, only one was successful. The gestation period for L. longicaudis was estimated at 86 days, with no evidence of delayed implantation. This kind of pregnancy can be classified as short and variable. We recommend further research efforts regarding behaviour and reproduction of Neotropical otters in captivity.
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The Eurasian Otter in the South Caucasus
Pages 19 - 23 (Report)
George Gorgadze
Seven species of Mustelidae are to be found in the south Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia): Lutra lutra, Martes martes, Martes foina, Meles meles, Mustela vison, Mustela nivalis and Vormela peregusna. The rarest of these species are the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) and the marbled polecat (Vormela peregusna). The Eurasian otter, one of most endangered species of the south caucasian fauna, is still suffering under the influence of poaching, habitat loss, disturbance and pollution. No fundamental research has been undertaken on otters in any of the south Caucasian countries and, therefore, data provided in the literature are scarce. Further, no DNA analysis has been undertaken in this part of the world and, therefore, the actual number of subspecies is not clear.
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The Neotropical Otter Lontra Longicaudis Feeding Habits In A Marine Coastal Area, Southern Brazil
Pages 24 - 30 (Report)
Gisele G. Alarcon, Paulo C. Simões-Lopes
The feeding habits of Lontra longicaudis have been studied in several areas in South America. In Brazil, the studies are concentrated on the species' feeding habits in fresh water ecosystems. Different authors reported the use of marine waters by L. longicaudis, although fresh water ecosystems were found to be the main environment providing food for this species. In the Environmental Protection Area of Anhatomirim in Southern Brazil, the marine environment proved to be the main feeding habitat for L. longicaudis. Fish and crustaceans are the main prey groups. Four fish families were identified and the Scianidae represents 85% of the prey. Intensive use of the coastal areas and lack of knowledge on the otters' use of these environments can compromise its conservation in Santa Catarina coastal habitats.
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New Information About The Behavior Of Lontra Longicaudis (Carnivora: Mustelidae) By Radio-Telemetry
Pages 31 - 35 (Report)
Eduardo Nakano-Oliveira, Roberto Fusco, Etiene A. V. Dos Santos, Emygdio L. A. Monteiro-Filho
During the development of a study about a community of carnivorous mammals, an otter was captured and equiped with a radio transmitter in an area of mangrove in the south coast of the State of São Paulo, southeast of Brazil. This study verified that: 1 - the animal used at least three burrows without communication between them. 2 - the most used burrow was at a distance of 2,6 km from the capture place; 3 - this individual usually moved between two islands that were separated by an estuary whose medium width was of approximately 1 km; 4 - it spent a long period on a small island of approximately 0,06 Km2 where a muddy substratum prevailed, not allowing the construction of a burrow. In spite of the little time that the otter stayed with the radio-transmitter, the data obtained are of relevant importance as they show an unknown activity pattern, besides showing in a short period some patterns of burrow use. Even though the otter removed its radio-collar, it didn't cause any damage to the individual and it allowed the registration of behaviour patterns that had not been described before. Based upon the radio-transmitter as adapted, new perspectives open up for the effective study of this species, increasing the possibilities of obtaining data about activity patterns and home range for Lontra longicaudis.
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Scats And Glue - A Cheap And Accurate Method For Mapping African Clawless Otter Aonyx Capensis (Schinz, 1821)Territories In Riverine Habitats
Pages 36 - 39 (Report)
Mordecai O. Ogada
Accurate mapping of otter territories has hitherto been done by means of telemetry. However, the widespread use of telemetry has curtailed the study of otter territorial behaviour in resource-poor countries, particularly in Africa. Researchers in Africa generally do not have the resources to invest in telemetry equipment and tracking vehicles and aircraft. The implanting of transmitters in otters is a highly invasive procedure that requires a high standard of veterinary/ animal handling skills and the risks are high. African clawless otters forage in family groups and these animals share a clan terrintory along a stretch of coastline or riverine habitat. This territory is regularly marked by deposition of spraints, mostly on rocks and other prominent features on the riverbanks. In the course of this experiment, the artificial transfer of scats from known A.capensis holts into neighbouring family territories was found to elicit a prompt response from the resident family group. When the process is repeated in both directions, i.e. scats from territory A into territory B and vice versa, it gave a highly accurate estimate of territorial boundaries and when repeated over time can give an indication of seasonal variation in territorial behaviour.
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Giant Otter Project In Peru: Field Trip And Activity Report - 2005
Pages 40 - 46 (Report)
Jessica Groenendijk, Frank Hajek
The project "Status, habitat, behaviour, and conservation of Giant Otters in Peru" of the Frankfurt Zoological Society - Help for Threatened Wildlife (FZS) is now in its 15th year and progress has been reported continually in the IUCN Otter Specialist Group Bulletin (SCHENCK and STAIB, 1992, 1995a, 1995b; SCHENCK et al. 1997, 1999; STAIB and SCHENCK, 1994; GROENENDIJK et al., 2000, 2001; GROENENDIJK and HAJEK, 2002, 2003). The giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) was uplisted from 'vulnerable' to 'endangered' by IUCN in 2000 with habitat destruction in South America currently posing the greatest threat to the species. Activities in Peru have been geared toward developing a national integrated conservation strategy, incorporating research and monitoring, environmental education, management of human activities in giant otter habitats, capacitation and awareness-raising, networking, and the creation of a distribution database and mapping facility.
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Change Of Partners In A Giant Otter Alpha Couple
Pages 47 - 51 (Report)
Emanuela Evangelista
Very few data are available on the social behaviour of giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis). In this note I report a change of partners in a giant otter alpha couple observed in the Xixuau Reserve in Roraima, Brazil. The male of the breeding pair disappeared and was replaced by another adult male, previously sighted within the group's territory. The calf of the original alpha couple survived the whole transition and was adopted by the new adult male; the group remained stable in its new form and one year later the couple had a litter of two cubs. For each individual, the frequency of alarm behaviour was recorded and the results show an adjustment of the alpha female to the different behaviour of the two partners.

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