UP starts census of Otters

For the first time, Uttar Pradesh has undertaken census of otters in its protected areas. The exercise that began in the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) will be completed by the end of March 2019. Otters are an important part of the forest ecosystem. A thriving population of otters means a healthy river ecosystem. These mammals, listed in schedule II of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, are rarely seen due to their extremely shy nature. They feed on fish, bird eggs and small creatures like frogs. The den of an otter is known as holt and it is close to water bodies. The PTR is in the foothills of the Himalayas, south of Nepal. Covering an area of approximately 800 square kilometres, the reserve sprawls across parts of Pilibhit, Lakhimpur Kheri and Bahraich districts. With the Sharda and Ghaghara rivers encircling a considerable part of the reserve, it is rich in water bodies. The forests of PTR are to home to tigers, leopards, elephants, different species of deer and monkeys and reptiles like snakes, mugger crocodiles and gharials.

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