Species Survival Commission of the World Conservation Union (IUCN/SSC) Otter Specialist Group (Asian Section)


IUCN/SSC Otter Specialist Group


Links - Literature - - Xth Otter Colloquim (Oct 2007)

Tue 05 Apr 2005

Looking for otter photos?

Category : photos

Digital photography and web tools have created a relatively abundant resource of digital images, althugh the exact phtos may still elude you especially if you are trying to highlight specific aspects of morphology or behaviour. Still, its much more than existed just a few years ago.

Permissions for use may vary - and the best thing to find are pages tagged with Creative Commons licenses that allow use with attribution! Do check individual pages, but often, acknowledged use for educational, non-profit powerpoint talks or webpages is either free or obtainable after an email request.


For all of these, try other keywords such as species names, "baby otters," etc.

Posted at 6:59AM UTC | permalink

Tue 05 Apr 2005

Small-clawed otter juggling pebbles

Category : video

An individual Small-clawed otter (A. cinereus) in the Singapore Zoological Gardens is caught on film juggling two pebbles in March 2005.

The video, though a little jerky, captures this behaviour well enough and is freely available here for download in AVI format:

  • Short version (4s, 3MB).
  • Long version (30s, 22.1MB).
  • Small-clawed otters have often been reported to juggle pebbles in captivity, reflecting great dexterity. Phillip Wayre described Mouse, an orphan, hand-reared small-clawed otter raised by his wife Jeanne as a "master-juggler" (The River People (1976) & photo in Operation Otter (1989) - see bibliography).

    The reduced claws of A. cinereus rarely extend beyond the digit, looking much like human nails. The paws are also only partially webbed, allowing greater mannual dexterity compared to other species of otters. They are unique amongst otter in using their forepaws to locate and capture prey, rather than their mouth.

    The students who took the video, Joyce Quek, Venne Cai & Michelle Pang, are reading a first year cross-faculty module on animal behaviour at the National University of Singapore. They spent an afternoon observing a group of Small-clawed otters at the Singapore Zoological Gardens for a class presentation.

    See also photos of Small-clawed otters juggling pebbles from the New Forest Otter & Owl Wildlife Park in the UK, by Poppy, 4th June 2002.

    For more on Small-clawed otters, see Animal Diversity Web.

    Posted at 6:17AM UTC | permalink

    Thu 13 Jan 2005

    Claus Reuther, Chariman of the IUCN/SSC Otter Specialist Group, RIP

    Category : news

    On 30th December 2004, otter researchers around the world received shocking news.

    "Dear members of the IUCN/SSC Otter Specialist Group, dear colleagues, dear friends,

    I have to inform you that Claus Reuther, Chairman of our group, died of a heart attack on December 29, at the age of 54. His untimely death is a real loss to his family, his friends and colleagues and to the profession.

    The burial will take place Tuesday, Jan. 04 at 1 p.m. at the cemetery in Hankensbüttel. Donations in Claus Reuthers memory may be made to Aktion Fischotterschutz e. V., Sudendorfallee 1, D-29386 Hankensbüttel.


    Dr. Hans-Heinrich Krüger"

    I replied, as many did:

    "I was very shocked and saddened by news of Claus' untimely passing. I still am. I had enjoyed very much the time I had with him, his encouragement, grasp of the subject, practical outlook, thoughts on education, conservation efforts and his 'dreams'.

    It was very difficult to read of his passing last evening, on top of the current tragic circumstances that surround us in south and southeast Asia. I sat back in shock and then thought of his bushy face, his expressions and the twinkle in his eye.


    In the days that followed, many people wrote in, from around the world, and many pointed out the mentorship and friendship he had offered all of us in this odd pursuit to understand and protect otters. He is missed by all of us very much indeed.

    Claus Reuther here pictured with Hiroshi Sasaki,
    enjoying a ride through the streets of Delhi in March 2002.
    Picture by N. Sivasothi

    Posted at 12:09PM UTC | permalink

    Thu 13 Jan 2005

    In the media

    Category : news

    INDIA 2003 - " Otters on Mt. Kailash" by Aniruddha Mookerjee, The Hindu (India), 26 Jan 2003. This animal has never been a priority species. So, is the otter doomed? €

    IRAQ 2001 - "Mammals, such as the smooth coated otter, that exist only in the marshlands are now considered extinct." Source - "The Fertile Crescent, One Of The World's Most Important Wetlands, Devastated By Drainage." Space Daily, 18 May 2001 [pdf].

    SINGAPORE 2002 - Deferment of reclamation at Chek Jawa, a wetland habitat with several ecosystems as a result of research and education efforts. January 2002.

    SINGAPORE 2002 - "You otter see this", by Ginnie Teo, The Straits Times, 05 Apr 2002.

    INDIA, 2002 - "Serious business for playful otters", The Pioneer, New Delhi, 07 Mar 2002

    VIETNAM 2002 - "Otter conservation tops the agenda for U Minh Thuong", Vietnamese News Agency, Friday, 01 Mar 2002.
    "U Minh Thuong's otters face survival fight", Vietnam News Agency, Monday, 25 Mar 2002.
    "Wanted: some rat cunning" by Tran Dinh Thanh Lam", Vietnamese News Agency, Monday, 18 Mar 2002.

    THAILAND 1997 - Otter-ly Charming, The Nation (Thailand), 23 Nov 1997. A symbol of wetlands, otters are cute, friendly, playful and intelligent. So why don't they receive more attention in Asia? James Fahn reports.

    Posted at 12:09PM UTC | permalink

    Thu 13 Jan 2005

    Meetings and Workshops, 1993 - 2004

    Category : meetings

    IXth International Otter Colloquim, Maryland USA, 4th-10th June 2004.

    India March 2002: "Otters as the Ambassasdors of Wetlands", New Delhi, 3rd-4th March 2002. Photos from the workshop.

    Vietnam, March 2002: Public awareness meeeting, Kien Giang Province, Vietnam, March 2002.

    VIIIth International Otter Colloquim - Valdivia, Chile, 20th to 26th January 2001. Interim page (official page taken down). Recommendations and results [pdf].

    "How to implement the Otter Action Plan?" Workshop by the German Aktion Fischotterschutz e.V. and the IUCN/SSC Otter Specialist Group, 4 - 7 November 2000, OTTER-ZENTRUM Hankensbüttel, Germany.

    Taiwan, December 1999: "Workshop on the Conservation and Public Awareness of Otters", National Museum of Natural Sciences, Taichung, Taiwan, 9th - 10th December 1999. Reports: International Conservation Newsletter, Issue 7-4 [link inactive]. The Society for Wildlife & Nature, Taiwan. "Otters in Asia: An International Workshop" by Jan Reed Smith for the River Otter Alliance at Otternet.

    VIIth International Otter Colloquium,Trebon, Czech Republic, 13th - 20th March 1998. Reccomendation and results (at Otternet) [pdf].

    Thailand November 1997. "Workshop on methods of surveying and monitoring otter populations", Bangkok & Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, Thailand, 12th - 15th November 1997.

    Thailand March 1996. IUCN/SSC Otter Specialist Group (Asian Section) meeting, Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand, 15th & 16th March, 1996.

    VIth International Otter Colloquium, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, 6th - 10th September 1993.

    Posted at 12:09PM UTC | permalink

    Thu 13 Jan 2005

    Significant reports

    Category : news

    Hairy-nosed otter (Lutra sumatrana)

    THAILAND 1999 - Capturing the elusive Hairy-nosed Otter. By Burhanuddin Hj. Md. Nor, September 1999.

    VIETNAM 2000 - Rare animal species found in Kieân Giang. Vietnam News, 17th December 2000 (no archive).

    The Hairy-nosed Otter Fund. International Otter Survival Fund

    Other species

    SINGAPORE 2000 - Second Smooth otter cub born in Singapore mangroves, N. Sivasothi, 20th May 2000. Eyewitness account and photos, Nick Baker, Ecology Asia, August 2000.

    SINGAPORE 1998 - Reports of a pair of Smooth Otters in Sungei Buloh Nature Park in December 1998. Habitatnews 99-01.

    TAIWAN 1999 - "Rare otter appears in Kinmen", by Sofia Wu, Central News Agency, Taiwan, 03 Dec 1999. [Lutra lutra].

    SINGAPORE, possibly 1998/9 - Reintroduction of Singapore Fauna into the forest reserves by Francis Lim, date unknown, possibly between 1998 and 1999.

    Posted at 12:09PM UTC | permalink

    Thu 13 Jan 2005

    Reports of captive otters

    Category : captive

    American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) Asian Otter Survey and Awareness Program - link.

    A new exhibit at Underwater World Langkawi, Malaysia - Small clawed Otters. Underwater World What's new, 23 Feb 2000.

    Posted at 11:51AM UTC | permalink

    Thu 13 Jan 2005


    Category : literature

    Asian Otter Bibliography

    Sivasothi, N., 1998. Asian otters in captivity. Asian Otter Newsletter, 5(1): 15-18. Article.

    "Getting support for otter action plans: what the mass media can - and can not - do", by Sandra Rientjes, European Centre for Nature Conservation, The Netherlands, November 2000.

    Posted at 10:30AM UTC | permalink

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    Last updated: 16 July, 2005 1:29 AM