Up until the 1980s these otters were excessively hunted for their valuable fur (7) (8); their naturally curious disposition making them particularly easy targets. The fur trade is less of a threat today thanks to protective legislation, but illegal hunting does still occur. Some cubs are taken from the wild to be kept as pets, and usually die in the hands of inexperienced caretakers. Habitat loss and pollution are currently the major threats to the survival of this species; with the areas in which they live being destroyed and degraded by mining, logging, damming and over-fishing (2) (8).
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