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IUCN/SCC Otter Specialist Group Bulletin

©IUCN/SCC Otter Specialist Group

Volume 34 Issue 2 (October 2017)

OSG Group Members News
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New Members of OSG

Since the last issue, we have welcomed 8 new members to the OSG: you can read more about them on the Members-Only pages.

Paras Acharya, Nepal: Paras M Acharya has had a lifelong career studying otters, marsh mugger, gharial crocodile and wetland conservation in Nepal.

Joanna Alfaro-Shigueto, Peru: In 1995, with colleague biologists, veterinarians and conservationists, we co-founded the non-profit group Pro Delphinus, a research organization that focused on marine conservation and small-scale fisheries, with a strong environmental education focus. In 2002, I was appointed as the Pro Delphinus President, extending the organization’s work to other marine species including marine otters, seabirds and sharks

Ninoslav Djurovic, Montenegro: I have been monitoring otters in Montenegro for the last seven years. Otters are not well known in this country, so I am working hard on educating the public, and getting agencies and ministries involved in making a plan for the protection and conservation of otters. I work in the National Park of Montenegro, and as well as surveying for otters, I teach visitors about otters and their importance. I am currently forming an NGO for otter conservation to raise the level of protection and explain the importance of the otter in Montenegro.

Lalita Gomez, Malaysia: I'm currently a programme officer with TRAFFIC based in Southeast Asia, looking at the illegal trade of wildlife in the SEA region. One of the species I focus on are otters, particularly the four Asian otter species. I first started working on otters in 2015 on a joint project between TRAFFIC and the IUCN OSG analysing otter seizure data in Asia between 1980 and 2015. The main aim of this project was to get a better understanding on what was driving trade of the four species found in Asia i.e. Small-clawed, Smooth-coated, Eurasian and Hairy-nosed otters.

Nishikant Gupta, Nepal: I have a deep-rooted interest in freshwater species, in particular the threatened Mahseer fish, and an ever-growing curiosity on avian biology, community-based conservation initiatives, recreational angling, flagship species, the role of religion in the conservation of species, and protected areas. ! am currently working as a Programme Officer for the Koshi Basin Initiative at the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu, Nepal on a Rufford project assessing the population status and distribution of otters in the Indian Himalayan State of Uttarakhand.

Jeffrey Mangerl, Peru: I am a conservation biologist working at the Peruvian non-governmental organization ProDelphinus. I have been conducting research on the marine otter (Lontra felina) in Peru since 2003. This work has centered around understanding their distribution, activity patterns, foraging, and the threats they face related to human interactions (eg. habitat disturbance, fishery interactions, disease transfer).

Damián Pardo, Colombia: I am working on the genetic diversity of the neotropical river otter in Colombia, to contrast the population structure of this species in Colombia with that in Brazil and Mexico, to help with conservation strategies. I am co-found and senior researcher of the Otters Up Conservation Project in the Palmari Nature Reserve between Brazil, Colombia and Peru, implementing an adaptive management strategy for the sustainable use of aquatic resources to allow local communities to protect and conserve giant and neotropical river otters in the area.

Megan Stolen, USA: I have recently started work on a project in central Florida collecting data from road-kill otters, and also sightings information via a citizen Science "Otter Spotter" online form. I also give talks to increase awareness of otter biology and conservation.

Tshering Tobgay, Bhutan: I have genuine interest in learning of Otter species in Bhutan and also to help in conserving the species. Moreover, there is also a gap in status and distribution of Otter species in Bhutan. So, I am seriously looking up to build this knowledge.

Christina Wolf-Petre, Austria: I am a biologist with special focus in the field of (large) carnivores, amd am part of the WWF Austria Wildlife Conservation Team concentrating on 5 “conflict” species: lynx, wolf, beaver, otter and white tailed eagle. Because of my former experience in the field of wildlife conflicts, work on large predators, and WWF’s intensified work on otters, I have been appointed to lead the work on this species within the team.

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