The IOSF sponsors and is actively involved in numerous projects around the world.
Past projects include:
Mexico: A project was carried out by Jimena Guerrero, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autonoma Del Estado de Mexico. She studied three rivers of Temascaltepec to see which habitat features influence the distribution of the Neotropical Otter (Lontra longicaudis).
Chile: IOSF funded the work of Dr Claudio Delgado-Rodriguez, Marine Otter Project Director, Conservacíon Marina, in Valdivia. He carried out work on the Sea Cat or Marine Otter (Lontra felina), for which there is very little data. He developed a method for estimating population numbers which can be used to produce the first Sea Cat conservation strategy at regional level and also undertook a public awareness campaign, particularly for fishing communities.
Commander Islands: Dr. Vladimir Sevostianov of the Commander Islands & BC Nature Protection and Conservation Association", has been carrying out a long term study of the Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris) , particularly in connection with a sudden increase in deaths in other parts of the Bering Sea.
Bangladesh: Dr Feeroz, of the Department of Zoology at Jahangirnagar University, was able to establish an Otter Rescue Centre as part of the Wildlife Rescue Centre (WRC). Poaching of otters using fishnets is common in Bangladesh and the otters are caught and killed for the pelts. Sometimes the otters are confiscated from the poacher but without the WRC they would die without any treatment or care.
Belarus: Dr Vadim Sidorovich, of the Vertebrate Predation Research Group, Institute of Zoology, National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, in Minsk, has been working on otters and other carnivores for many years. He has shown that by improving the habitat for beavers it also improves the habitat for Eurasian Otters (Lutra lutra) and also for European Mink, another threatened species.
Georgia: George Gorgadze, of NACRES (Noah’s Ark Center for the Recovery of Endangered Species) in Tbilisi, carried out a population assessment of the Eurasian Otter (Lutra lutra) as no such study had ever been done and the otter has already disappeared from many areas in Georgia. During his studies, which also used camera traps, he managed to obtain a photo of a leopard, which had not been recorded in the country for over 50 years!
Hungary: IOSF has been working for many years with Dr Jozsef Lanszki, of the Ecological Research Group, University of Kaposvár, in his studies of the Eurasian Otter (Lutra lutra) along the Drava River and in the fish pond areas of south-western Hungary.
America: IOSF campaigned with the Animal Defence Trust to outlaw the use of the gin trap in the hunting of otters.
Ireland: In 2007 IOSF received two otter cubs from Ireland which were released back the following year. Whilst in Ireland to identify a suitable release site, we carried out a survey of County Longford and met with Dr Ferdia Marnell of the National Parks and Wildlife Service to discuss otter conservation in Ireland.
The Netherlands: IOSF was invited to a conference on road mitigation to present on the use of wildlife warning reflectors. This was part of a reintroduction programme in collaboration with the Dutch government.
Italy: IOSF supported a campaign by local people in Serre Persano, southern Italy, to prevent the re-opening of a huge rubbish dump near the protected area of Oasi di Persano. The campaign was successful and the government transferred the location to another site.
Russia: Dr Kathanovsky of the Central Forest Biosphere Reserve carried out an otter survey of the area – the first of its kind in the Reserve.
Thailand: In 1998 the Hairy-Nosed Otter (Lutra sumatrana) was considered extinct but using funding from IOSF, Dr Budsabong Kanchansaka of the Wildlife Research Division, in Bangkok, found small populations still in the wild. Following this further isolated populations were found in Vietnam,Cambodia and Indonesia.
South Africa: Prof Jan Nel and Dr Leon Durbin of Stellenbosch University carried out a survey of the Cape Clawless Otter (Aonyx capensis) in the Western Cape Province, where it is under threat from the expansion of human townships.
Guyana: Dr Adrian Barnett of the School of Life Sciences, Roehampton Institute, in London, carried out a survey of Giant Otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) as part of the Potaro Plateau Conservation Programme, whose aim was to provide lists of the mammals and birds of the region.
Argentina: Dr Claudio Chehebar, Administracíon de Parques Nacionales, Rio Negro, is monitoring the status of the Southern River Otter (Lontra provocax) in Nahuel Huapi National Park. This species has a very restricted range and has suffered heavy pressure from hunting, poaching and habitat loss. As a result the IUCN Otter Specialist Group identified it as one of the first priority group “Species of Global Conservation Concern”.
Spain: IOSF collaborated with Dr Jordi Ruiz-Olmo of the Departament de Medi Ambient i Habitatge, Generalitat de Catalunya, in Barcelona on a LIFE project to produce a book on “European Semi-aquatic Mustelids: Estimations of numbers and abundance”. This book is intended to provide guidelines for monitoring semi-aquatic Mustelids in Europe including the otter.
UK – We have carried out many surveys and advised local authorities and the Scottish Executive about otter road mitigation. We have also supported various local campaigns, such as that on the River Lune in Cumbria, where the local people were concerned about a housing development which would destroy otter habitat – the campaign was successful.
International Rehabilitation: IOSF has provided practical help and advice for many people working with cubs throughout the world. Over the years we have supported people working with different species in many countries including Ireland, Portugal, Guyana, Chile, Canada, USA, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Indonesia.
Europe: IOSF believes that international collaboration is vital if we are to achieve real progress in conservation. As a part of this concept, IOSF has organised two international conferences on the Isle of Skye. The first, in 2000, brought together European Specialists in Otter Toxicology and resulted in protocols for post mortem examinations. The second in 2003 was entitled “The Return of the Otter in Europe – Where and How” and again brought together specialists from all over Europe to work on an integrated plan for conservation.
On 5th September Paul and Grace Yoxon of the International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF) and six wildlife enthusiasts arrived at the headquarters of the Somogy Provincial Association for Nature Conversation in Somogyfajsz about 2.5 hours from Budapest near the southern end of Lake Balaton, the second largest lake in Europe.
Download the report by Andrew Cameron
Workshop in Bangladesh
In December 2014 IOSF held a training workshop in Bangladesh. The workshop began at Jahangirnagar University near Dhaka and then moved to a boat in the Sundarbans. Read more about it here.
Pan-African otter training workshop
In July 2015 IOSF held the first ever Pan-African otter training workshop at the College of Wildlife Management Mweka in Tanzania. 30 people from 10 sub-Saharan countries attended and you can read more here.