Otters in Chilika Lake
The spotting of the Eurasian Otter in Chilika Lake for the first time is being seen as a sign of success of the strong conservation efforts.
- Eurasian Otter:
It is a semi-aquatic mammal that is classified as a near threatened species by IUCN. It is one of the most widely distributed otter species, found in Asia, Africa and Europe. In India, it is found in the Western Ghats region, Himalayan foothills and in central India. They are under threat from habitat loss, pollution from pesticides, hunting, decline in native fish population, etc.
- Smooth-coated Otter:
The smooth-coated otter was also spotted during the survey. It is found throughout the Indian subcontinent and in south-east Asia. It is considered a vulnerable species by IUCN. It was included under CITES Appendix I recently. They are used for commercial fishing in Bangladesh- where they are trained to chase fishes into the fishermen’s nets.
- Fishing Cat:
It is a vulnerable species of wildcat found in south and south-east Asia. It is the state animal of West Bengal. The otters were spotted during efforts to camera trap the fishing cats in the region. They have several adaptation for the wetland habitat like partially webbed feet and water resistant fur.