Overview

Distribution

Range Description

The hairy-nosed otter (Lutra sumatrana, Gray 1865) is the rarest and least known among the five species of otters occurring in Asia. It is endemic to South Asia. The type specimen came from Sumatra. Once believed to be extinct, the hairy nosed otter has been rediscovered from many parts of Southeast Asia such as Thailand, Viet Nam and Cambodia. Historically, it occurred from southern Indochina to Malaysia (Sebastain 1994, 1995) and Thailand (Lekagul and Mcneely 1988, Kanchanasaka 2000). In Thailand it has been reported from Phru Toa Daeng Peat Swamp Forest (Kanchanasaka et al. 1998). From Viet Nam it has also been reported from U Minh Thuong Nature Reserve in Mekong Delta (Nguyen et al. 2001, Nguyen 2005, Nguyen et al. 2007) and from Cambodia it has been reported from Tonle Sap wetlands (Long 2000, Poole 2003, Olsson 2007). It has been reported from Malaysia at Terengganu in 2003 and from Maur in 1995. It has been recently reported in Sumatra, Indonesia (Lubis 2005). Historical records of its occurrence comes from the coast off of Penang Island (Harrison 1984), and from accidental road kill in Brunei in 1997 (Sasaki 2006). Historically it has also been reported from Myanmar as evident from the skin present in the British museum. From this, the possible range of hairy-nosed otter can be worked out which is eastward from Northeast India (Indo-china), Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Lao PDR, Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
In Thailand it lives in Phru Toa Daeng Peat Swamp Forests (Kanchanasaka et al. 1998). In Viet Nam it has also been reported from the low lying peat swamp forests of U Minh Thuong Nature Reserve in Mekong Delta (Nguyen et al. 2001, Sage et al. 2004) and from Cambodia it has been reported from Tonle Sap wetlands (Poole 2003, Heng 2007). It inhabits freshwater and coastal areas, especially mangroves in Indonesia. Wayre (1974, 1978) considered that the Hairy-nosed otter mainly inhabited mountain streams above 300 m, Medway (1969) recorded it in the sea off Penang.

The hairy nosed otter principally predate on fish (85.5%) followed by water snake and they also supplement their diet with frog, lizard, turtle, crab, mammal and insect, although these may not be that important in its diet (Kanchanasaka 2007). Fish belonging to the families Channidae, Belontiidae, Anabantidae, Notopteridae, Synbranchidae, Clariidae, Nandidae, were identified in the fecal samples from Thailand. The main prey selected were three-spot gourami (Trichogaster trichopterus), common climbing perch (Anabas testudineus), and snakeheads (Channa sp) (Kanchanasaka 2007).

Not much is known about its breeding behaviour but there is indication that it breeds in November-December in the Mekong delta. Kanchanasaka et al. (2003) found that gestation was around 2 months as with other otters, and cubs were seen in December to February, and one family observed consisted of both parents and a cub.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
A2cd

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Hussain, S.A., Kanchanasakha, B., de Silva, P.K. & Olson, A.

Reviewer/s
Conroy, J. (Otter Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is considered to be Endangered due to past population declines. Based on estimated of rates of decline, this species is suspected to have declined by up to 50% in the past 3 generations (30 years) due to illegal poaching and hunting, pollution, bycatch and prey depletion due to over fishing. The current rates of decline are suspected to continue into the future and further threaten this species. In its entire range the hairy nosed otter is under increasing pressure due to intensive poaching. In Cambodia, around the Tonle Sap Lake, poaching of otters and other wildlife are common practice (Somanak 2007). In Viet Nam, otters are hunted for illegal wildlife trade, for meat and medical use. Similar is the case in other range countries. The principal threat to the fauna of Southeast Asian region is the burgeoning human population, and resultant biomass demand which puts pressure on natural resources. Unavailability of adequate prey species and suitable undisturbed habitat are putting additional pressure on all wildlife species including hairy-nosed otter. From these it is concluded that the hairy-nosed otter is under stress due to its restricted range, in which its habitat is under constant pressure and that there is every possibility of reduction in its population which has been inferred and future population is suspected to be under decline which may lead to decline in the area of occupancy, extent of occurrence and habitat quality. Combining with all these factors, extensive illegal exploitation of the species may lead to its extinction unless appropriate conservation measures taken. Therefore, the species have been evaluated as Endangered.

History
  • 2004
    Data Deficient
  • 2000
    Data Deficient
  • 1996
    Vulnerable
  • 1996
    Vulnerable
    (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
  • 1994
    Insufficiently Known
    (Groombridge 1994)
  • 1990
    Insufficiently Known
    (IUCN 1990)
  • 1988
    Insufficiently Known
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
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Population

Population
In its distribution range the species is considered as rare. It has been studied in Phru Toa Daeng Peat Swamp Forest in Thailand (Kanchanasaka et al. 1998), U Minh Thuong Nature Reserve in Viet Nam (Nguyen et al. 2001, Sage et al. 2004) and in Tonle Sap from Cambodia (Poole 2003, Heng 2007). However, their abundance or group sizes are relatively not known. In U Minha National Park though it was estimated that there were around 50-230 individuals. The species is believed to be extremely rare in Peninsular Malaysia (Sebastian 1995) and reported from scattered localities in the Borneo (Payne et al. 1985).

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
The hairy-nosed otter has limited distribution range. In Thailand, the otters are found in the Toa Daeng peat swamp forests, and also from near the mouth of the Bang Nara River which is low lying and tidal. In Viet Nam, the species have been reported from low lying peat swamp forests dominated by Melaleuca cajuputi in lower Mekong. In Cambodia, the species mainly live around the Tonle Sap Lake where the otters live mainly in the flooded forest and scrub surrounding the lake. Like many predators the hairy-nosed otter occurs in low density and the number and frequency of sightings are very few.

In recent years, the tropical peat swamp forests are under severe threat due to fire and other anthropogenic activities such as plantation for oil palm, food crops such as rice, corn and soyabean, and fish farming. In Viet Nam the entire Mekong Delta has been converted into rice fields reducing the habitat of otter and other wildlife species into few pocks. In Malaysia, fire reduced 70% of the Binsulok Forest Reserve and 10% of the Klias Forest Reserve. This has affected the surrounding environment and the biodiversity. In Indonesia over the last 20 years, the ecosystem has been reduced from almost 30 million hectares to only about 15 million hectares, and most of what remains has already been logged selectively. Such levels of habitat modification have profound effect on the native biodiversity.

In its entire range the hairy-nosed otter is under increasing pressure due to intensive poaching (Yoxn 2007). In Cambodia, around the Tonle Sap Lake, poaching of otters and other wildlife are common practice (Somanak 2007). In Viet Nam otters are hunted for illegal wildlife trade, and also for meat and medical use. Similar is the case in other range countries.

The principal threat to the fauna of Southeast Asian region is the burgeoning human population, and resultant biomass demand which puts pressure on natural resources. Unavailability of adequate prey species and suitable undisturbed habitat are putting additional pressure on all wildlife species including hairy-nosed otter.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Lutra sumatrana is listed in Appendix II of the CITES. It is legally protected in all the range countries. In Thailand all the otter species have been protected since 1961 under Wild Animals Preservation and Protection Act and are listed as endangered species in Thailand Red Data Book (Nabhitabhata and Chan-ard, 2005). In Viet Nam, otters are protected and their hunting and use is strictly banned. In Cambodia, the hairy-nosed otter is listed as ?Rare? and is fully protected. In Sarawak all otter species are protected by the First Schedule [Section 2(1)] PART II on Protected Animals from the Wild Life Protection Ordinance, 1998.
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Wikipedia

Hairy-nosed otter

The hairy-nosed otter (Lutra sumatrana) is one of the rarest otter species on earth. Until 1998, it was thought to have been extinct, but small populations have been discovered since then.

Measurements[edit]

  • Weight: 11 to 13 pounds (5.0 to 5.9 kg)
  • Head-body length: 20 to 32 inches (51 to 81 cm)
  • Tail length: 14 to 20 inches (36 to 51 cm)[3]

Identification[edit]

Illustration from 1878

The hairy-nosed otter is the least known of the Asian otters, and is also the most difficult to identify in the field. The hairy-nosed otter gets its name from the hairs on the end of its rhinarium (moist part of its nose); in most other respects it is similar to European otter, Lutra lutra. Hairy-nosed otters are entirely brown, except for lips, chin and upper throat, which are whitish. Their fur is rather rough but short. Their tails are flattened and oval in cross section, and their feet are fully webbed between the digits, with prominent claws. The penis of the adult male is not visible externally. The contact call between otters is a single-syllabic chirp; adult females call to pups with a staccato chatter. Large otters are very similar and can be positively distinguished only by close inspection of the nose and fur, or the skull. In this species, the skull is flatter than that of smooth otter, Lutrogale perspicillataI and has smaller teeth.[4]

Ecology and habitat[edit]

The hairy-nosed otter can be found in coastal areas and on larger inland rivers, solitary or in groups of up to four. Its diet includes fish and crustaceans. Pairing of a male and a female may be limited to the breeding period.[4]

Distribution and status[edit]

This otter is found in Southeast Asia (Myanmar, South Thailand, Cambodia, South Vietnam and Peninsular Malaysia, including Sumatra and Borneo). Extremely few individuals survive in Vietnam, southern Thailand, Sumatra and Cambodia, being menaced by poaching.[4]

Sightings[edit]

At present, it is believed to live mainly in two nature reserves in Vietnam,[5] in the Toa Daeng peat swamp forest in southern Thailand,[6][7] and in Sumatra, the place for which it was named. It was rediscovered in 2005.[8] It was also rediscovered in Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia.[9] Even from these places, they are known from a tiny number of sightings and some roadkill, and from skins.

In June 2008, the Wildlife Alliance -led Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team received a donated hairy-nosed otter originating near the Tonle Sap in Cambodia. Working with Conservation International, they established a safe home for the rescued otter at the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre, but the otter, which had been frequently sick throughout its life in captivity, died of unknown causes in February 2010. Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre rescued another hairy-nosed otter in July 2010, and hope it will become part of a future captive breeding program. This is currently the only known hairy-nosed otter in captivity.

Another record of the species was on September 2008 in U Minh Ha National Park in southern Vietnam, when researchers from the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Program said they have found two hairy-nosed otters.[10]

After being assumed to be “nonexistent” in the state of Sabah, Malaysia for the last 100 years, the otter was rediscovered using a series of camera traps in 2010.[11] The same study also confirmed the presence of several other endangered species. Director of Sabah Forestry Department Datuk Sam Mannan said, “These findings show that long-term sustainable forest management is of great importance for the protection of some of this country’s most threatened species and of the unique biodiversity of the forests of Borneo.”

Conservation[edit]

The hairy-nosed otter is the rarest otter in Asia, most likely verging on extinction in the northern parts of its range and of uncertain status elsewhere. Only a few viable populations remain, widely scattered in region. The species is threatened by loss of lowland wetland habitats, hunting for fur and meat, and accidental killing during fishing.[4]Although the population of the hairy nosed otter is unsure it is supposedly around 86.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wozencraft, W. C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 532–628. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ Hussain SA, Kanchanasakha B, de Silva PK & Olson A (2008). Lutra sumatrana. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 2008-10-13. Database entry includes justification for why this species is listed as endangered
  3. ^ Endangered wildlife and plants of the world, Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2001, pp. 982–983 ISBN 0761472029
  4. ^ a b c d Payne, J., and Francis, C. M. (1985) A field guide to the mammals of Borneo. Kuala Lumpur:Weng fatt sdn. bhd. p 278, ISBN 9679994716.
  5. ^ Nguyen, X.D., Pham, T.A. & Le, H.T. (2001). "New Information about the Hairy-Nosed Otter (Lutra sumatrana) in Vietnam". IUCN Otter Spec. Group Bull. 18 (2): 64–75. 
  6. ^ Kanchanasaka, B. K. (2001). "Tracks and Other Signs of the Hairy-Nosed Otter (Lutra sumatrana)". IUCN Otter Spec. Group Bull. 18 (2): 57–63. 
  7. ^ Lekakul, B., McNeely, J. (1977) Mammals of Thailand. Kurusaphra Press, Laprao, Thailand
  8. ^ Lubis, R. (2005). "First Recent Record of Hairy-Nosed Otter in Sumatra, Indonesia". IUCN Otter Spec. Group Bull. 18 (1): 14–20. 
  9. ^ Poole, C. M. (2003). lutra sllmatrana from cambodia with notes on the national status of three other otter species.pdf "The first records of Hairy-nosed Otter Lutra sumatrana from Cambodia with notes on the national status of three other otter species". Nat. Hist. Bull. Siam Soc. 51 (2): 273–280. 
  10. ^ Rare otter species found in Vietnam. AFP (2008-09-18)
  11. ^ Vanar, Muguntan (2010-07-26) Endangered otter resurfaces in Sabah. thestar.com.my
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