Western Ghats is home to the Eurasian Otter

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Context:

  • It has taken more than 70 years to confirm the presence of the elusive Eurasian otter *Lutra Lutra) — one of the least-known of India’s three otter species — in the Western Ghats. Ironically, researchers found the dead otter after a vehicle ran over it near a fragmented rainforest in Tamil Nadu’s Valparai.
  • Though the Eurasian otter has been recorded historically from the Western Ghats (Coorg in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiri and Palani hill ranges, according to zoologist R.I. Pocock in 1941), this is the first photographic and genetic confirmation of its presence here. While the species is widespread across Europe, northern Africa and several south Asian countries, it is not as frequently sighted as smooth-coated or small-clawed otters in India.

Though protected by the Wildlife Protection Act (1972), otters are often illegally poached for pelts.

  • All 3 species of otters in India are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act and are listed in CITES Appendices.
  1. Eurasian Otter –  CITES Appendix I; WPA Schedule II
  2. Smooth Coated Otter – CITES Appendix II; WPA Schedule II
  3. Clawless Otter – CITES Appendix II; WPA Schedule I

Source:TH