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Range DescriptionThe Southern River Otter occurs in Chile and Argentina in freshwater and marine environments. The freshwater distribution is located in the northern part of the otters range and was historically wider in both countries. In Chile, river otters occurred from Cachapoal River (34S) (Gay 1847, Reed 1877) up to the Peninsula de Taitao (46S) with a continuous distribution in rivers and lakes (Medina 1996). The current distribution in Chile has been strongly restricted from north to south due to land use change and human colonization (Medina 1996), as a consequence, the otter populations are only found at present from the Imperial River (38S ) (Rodrguez-Jorquera and Seplveda 2011) to the south. In Argentina freshwater subpopulations were distributed historically from the Neuquen Province (36S) to the Lake Buenos Aires (46S) and mostly associated with water courses from the Andean Range and the steppe (Valenzuela et al. 2012). The present freshwater distribution in Argentina is mostly restricted to the Limay watershed, mainly within the Nahuel Huapi National Park (Chehebar 1985, Cassini et al. 2010, Valenzuela et al. 2012).
Southern River Otter subpopulations that inhabit marine environments are distributed along the Pacific coast of Chile from 46S to Tierra del Fuego in Chile (Cabrera 1957, Redford and Eisenberg 1992, Sielfeld 1992, Malmierca et al. 2006). In Argentina, marine subpopulations are present only in the Archipielago Fueguino in Los Estados Island and the Beagle Channel (Malmierca et al. 2006, Valenzuela et al. 2012, Valenzuela et al. 2013). Marine river otters in Argentina are probably a continuous subpopulation of the main otter subpopulation in Chile (Sielfeld 1992).