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chilika lake - Shanmugam IAS academy in coimbatore
chilika lake


What’s in news?

Eurasian Otter has been sighted for the first time in the Chilika lake.

Key data’s:

  • The otters were spotted during TFCP’s survey to camera trap the fishing cats in the fringe villages of Chilika covering an area of 1,070 sq km.
  • The species has been found for the first time in eastern India.
  • Confirmation: Presence of the species in the marshland was confirmed through camera traps and bycatch data used by The Fishing Cat Project (TFCP).
  • What it tells? The Presence of the mammal species in the brackish water reflects the strong ecological conservation was carried out in the lake i.e. the lake is of pollution-free (pollution free water bodies are favourable habitat for such mammal).

About the Otter:

  • Native to: It is a semi-aquatic mammal native to Eurasia.
  • Other names: The species also known as European otter, Eurasian river otter, common otter and Old-world otter.
  • Diet: Its diet is mainly comprising small animals – mainly crabs and small fishes.
  • Distribution: Found throughout Europe and in Asia. In India, the species is distributed in the Himalayan foothills, southern Western Ghats and the central Indian landscape.
  • Also found mainly in Europe, northern Africa and other south Asian countries.
  • Its presence denotes: A growing or healthy population of otters means the water bodies are pollution-free. Clean water bodies mean a healthy ecosystem of the forest.
  • Behaviour: It is nocturnal and strongly a territorial species. It can be diurnal in areas which are less disturbed.
  • Threat: The threat for the mammal includes Road accidents, pollution of water bodies, poaching for pet trade.

Protection status:

Eurasian Otter:

  • IUCN Red List:Near Threatened
  • Placed in CITES (Appendix I), Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 (Schedule II).

The other two species;

  • Smooth Coated Otter – Placed in CITES (Appendix II) and Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 (Schedule II).
  • Clawless Otter – Placed in CITES (Appendix II) and Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 (Schedule I).

Otters in recent news:

For the first time, Uttar Pradesh is taking a census of otters in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR).

Links to note:

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