Dedicated to the conservation, protection and care of otters
Adopt : Donate : Donate Monthly : Ottershop : Join our mailing list

About Otters

Our Otter Cam

Why are Otters so important?

Otter Images and Videos

Otter Species

Otters Around the World

Skye Wildlife Sightings

The Mustelid Family

Otter Watch

African Otters

Asian Otters

Find out more about our Asian projects (Helping Otters in Asia)

Asia is the home of five species of otter and more information is shown below:

Eurasian Otter (Lutra lutra)
Smooth-coated Otter (Lutrogale perspicillata)
Hairy-nosed Otter (Lutra sumatrana)
Asian Small-clawed Otter (Aonyx cinereus)
Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris)


Species: Eurasian Otter

The status is poorly documented partly due to the country’s turbulent history in recent decades. A review of the status of the Eurasian otter published by Ostrowski in 2016 which recommended that clarification of the current distribution, population trend and threats is necessary before applying appropriate conservation measures.

Legal Protection: On the list of Protected Wildlife Species in Afghanistan since 2010.

Threats: Hunting.


Species: Asian Small-clawed, Smooth-coated and Eurasian Otter

The Asian Small-clawed Otter is very rare but is found in the Sunderbans.

The Smooth-coated Otter is the most common species although numbers are shrinking. Some small communities still use these otters to help fish as the animals chase the fish into the nets.

The Eurasian otter has a sporadic small population recorded in the Chittagong and Chittagong hill tracts and in the wetlands of Mymensingh and Syhet but these are old reports.

In 2019 research was carried out by Zahid Shashoto of the Otter Project, Bangladesh, in the North Eastern part of the country (Haor Region). They found no signs of either Smooth-coated or Eurasian Otters except from interviews with local communities. One village confirmed that all three species were present and hunted about 20-30 years ago. Shashoto carried out a further study after seeing a photograph of two smooth-coated otters in a local newspaper in 2016 in Rajshahi, in the central Northwestern region, where there were no such formal records. Community surveys of fishermen and local people and identification of secondary signs of otters (spraint, footprint, damaged fishing nets, half eaten fish, slides or holts/resting places) confirm the existence of this species in Rajshahi. (Shashoto & Yoxon 2020, IOSF Journal Vol 6

In 2014 a workshop was held to train more people in otter research and education/public awareness. This was held in the Sunderbans, the largest area of mangrove forest in the world, which also extends into India. During the workshop we were fortunate enough to see wild Asian small-clawed otters but we also saw first-hand the pollution risk following an oil spill which covered the river banks. You can read the full report on the workshop here.

Legal Protection: Protected

Threats: Habitat destruction, pollution, illegal hunting, killed by fishermen.

IOSF supported projects

  • 2006 – Support for Mohammed Feeroz in his care for two Smooth-coated Otters at the Wildlife Rescue Centre at Jahangirnagar University
  • 2014 – Training workshop with Mohammed Feeroz of Jahangirnagar University. View the Report.
  • 2018 to present – Support for Delip Bisharga Das for education work and formation of a Team Otter Club


Species: Asian Small-clawed, Smooth-coated and Eurasian Otter (No recent information is available)

Most seen in Punatshangchhu Basin (central) as far as Sunkosh.

Legal Protection: Not known.

Threats: Hydroelectric dams, illegal fishing, development, sand extraction.


Borneo is actually divided into three countries:  Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.  So please see these countries for further information.


Species: Asian Small-clawed, Smooth-coated and Hairy-nosed Otter?

The Asian Small-clawed Otter is common, while the Smooth-coated and Hairy-nosed otters are rare (de Silva 2006).

Legal Protection: Not known.

Threats: Not known.


See under Myanmar


Species: Smooth-coated , Eurasian, Hairy-nosed and Asian Small-clawed Otter Otter.IUCN 2007 Abstract

For a long time little was known about the otters in Cambodia and in 2009 a workshop was held to train more people in otter research and education/public awareness. You can read the full report on the workshop here.

Since then much more information has been obtained and in 2016 a report was published on field studies carried out between 2006 and 2013. This confirmed that Hairy-nosed Otters were present in four regions: Tonle Sap Lake, Cardamom Mountains, Bassac Marsh and the coastal areas in Kohn Kong province.

The report also shows that Hairy-nosed Otters and Smooth-coated Otters live in similar habitats in parts of their ranges. However, the former prefer areas sheltered by trees and vegetation whereas Smooth-coated Otters are more in open areas. Smooth-coated otters are also known from the Mekong river and its tributaries, including the Sre Pok River.

Asian small-clawed Otters are recorded from the Virachey National Park and the surrounding area.

(Heng S., Dong T., Hon N. & Olsson, A. (2016) The Hairy-nosed Otter Lutra sumatrana in Cambodia: distribution and notes on ecology and conservation. Cambodian Journal of Natural History, 2016, 102–110.)

Since 2008 IOSF has been supporting the work of Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre near Phnom Penh, Cambodia. They are the only facility which has ever cared for a hairy-nosed otter and they currently have a female called Neary, which is the polite word for a lady in Khmer. Hairy-nosed otters are very susceptible to poor water quality. As a result freshwater has to be brought 40 km from Phnom Penh to the Centre every day for Neary’s pool. Fresh fish also has to be bought at a cost of about £4,000 per year.

They also have a group of smooth-coated otters.

Legal Protection: Eurasian and hairy-nosed otters protected by Forestry Law (2002). Asian small-clawed and smooth-coated not protected.

Threats: 30 year war destroyed vast areas of forest, pollution, hunting otter furs

IOSF supported projects

  • 2008 – Support for Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre in construction of a new enclosure for Dara, the only Hairy-nosed Otter in captivity in the world
  • 2009 – Worked with Annette Olssen of Conservation International on a training workshop and subsequent research and education/public awareness programmes
  • 2014 to present - Supporting otters in care at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre and a new enclosure for Smooth-coated Otters


Species: Asian Small-clawed, Smooth-coated and Eurasian Otter.

Smooth-coated Otters are found in the southwest area of Yunnan province and the coastal area of Guandong. The Eurasian Otter is widespread with five sub-species. Asian Small-clawed Otters occur along the southern boundary of China.

Legal Protection: All three species protected by Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Wildlife (1989) – Class II.

Threats: Habitat destruction and illegal hunting have resulted in serious damage to the otter population.

Otters used to be widespread in China except for a few provinces in arid zones but now they are hardly ever observed in the wild. Spraints or footprints can be occasionally observed in only a few provinces near streams, reservoirs or protected areas. Based on the China National Wetlands Survey completed in 2003, otters could only be detected in 12 provinces and 3 autonomous regions, and are rare in 9 of the 15 provinces and regions. In the Changbaishan Mountain nature reserve numbers of otters declined by 99% between 1975 and 2010.

A Second National Wetlands Inventory was published in 2014 and this was more accurate than the first as it used standardised guidelines. When compared with the First Inventory, the data showed that the natural wetland had been reduced by 3,376,200 ha but the area of protected wetlands had risen to 5,259,400 ha including 25 Ramsar sites, 279 wetlands nature reserves and 468 wetland parks. The mammal survey in the Inventory focused on otters and was accompanied by interviews and literature reviews of the currently published papers. It did not record species of otter but it did show that otters are found in 24 provinces and autonomous regions. This apparent increase could be because of more protected wetlands and more legal enforcement of protection laws.

Tibet is an autonomous region of China. Both the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) and Asian small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus) have been listed for Tibet in several authorities but all recorded otters in the plateau region are Eurasian, rather than Asian small-clawed.

This photo of otter footprints was taken at Nyanpo Yutse of Qinghai Province by He Bing, of the Nyanpo Yutse Environment Protection Society.

Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China. Otters were thought to be extinct in the mid 1990s but they were spotted again in the Mai Po Nature Reserve in 1998. A PhD study of these otters was begun in 2016.

In September 2016 a workshop was held at Zhuhai in southern China and you can read the full report on the workshop here.

IOSF supported projects


Species: Eurasian, Asian Small-clawed and Smooth-coated Otter.

All species are becoming rare outside the protected National Parks. The Asian Small-clawed is the rarest and is found on the foothills of the Himalayas. The Smooth-coated Otter is found throughout India and the Eurasian Otter occurs in the foothills of the western Himalayas and in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Goa in the south. In recent times Eurasian Otters were also found in Lake Kribco near the city of Surat in South Gujarat, and the lake is now protected. At times the otters move to another lake, Lake Gaver, which is about 6km away and this lake has been adopted by a non-governmental organisation, Nature Club Surat, for the conservation of wetlands. This species has now also been found at the estuarine lagoon at Chilika, a Ramsar Site on the east coast (Adhya & Dey 2020, IOSF Journal Vol 6.

Legal Protection: All three species protected by The Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 – Schedule I & II.

Threats: Habitat destruction, sand extraction, pollution, urbanisation, conflicts with fishermen, illegal hunting.

IOSF supported projects

  • 1999 – Support for a Smooth-coated Otter being cared for by CUPA (Compassion Unlimited Plus Action)
  • 2012 – Support for Apoorva Kulkarni working with fishing communities in Karnataka
  • 2013 – Support for Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation in their care of three Smooth-coated Otters
  • 2020 – Support for Shaheen Shaik’s study of Smooth-coated Otters in Hyderabad and Medak of Telangana


Wildlife Society of India
Nature Club Surat


Species: Eurasian, Asian Small-clawed, Smooth-coated and the Hairy-nosed Otter.

In 2005 the picture below was taken of a Hairy Nosed otter road kill from Sumatra. Since then more Hairy-Nosed otters have been reported in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

Otters are only found in the west of Indonesia and only on the islands of Borneo (Kalimantan), Java and Sumatra.

As far as we know there are no otters on Bali.

There is very little recent data on the Eurasian otter in Indonesia. During investigations into otters being traded as pets in north Sumatra it was reported that these were Eurasian otter cubs but the animals “disappeared” and so this could not be confirmed. However, in January 2020, two pet otters were taken to a rescue centre and one of these turned out to be Eurasian – the first record in 80 years.

Legal Protection: Eurasian and hairy-nosed otters have been protected for a long time by Government Regulation No 5/1990 on Conservation of Natural Resources & the Ecosystem, Government Regulation No 7/1999 on Preservation of Flora & Fauna. In 2018 The Ministry of Environment and Forestry signed a decree that means the smooth-coated otter is also now fully protected. However, the Asian small-clawed otter is still not unprotected and this is the species most involved in trade.

Threats: Pollution, habitat destruction, road mortality and taking from the wild as pets. At the beginning of 2013 at least 800 otter pet owners were known in the Jakarta alone.

In March 2013 a workshop was held in Java to train people to do more otter research and education/public awareness. The government requested recommendations for further action and these were presented at the end of the workshop. These included legal protection for Asian small-clawed and smooth coated otters. An Indonesian Otter Network has been formed with their own Facebook page and pet owners are starting to think about giving up their otters for care at a proper sanctuary.

You can read the full report on the workshop here.

Indonesia has had a demand for pet otters for a long time and this continues with the added pressures of other countries now interested in obtaining pet otters, such as Japan.

IOSF supported projects

  • 2009 – Support for Ruth Davidson in her care for Nessie, an orphaned Asian Small-clawed Otter in Jakarta
  • 2012 – Support for Reza Lubis in his care of a Hairy-nosed Otter cub
  • 2013 – Training workshop with Wetlands International Indonesia. View the Report
  • 2018 – Support for Godit Adit in Jakarta, in his care for Poker the Asian Small-clawed Otter
  • 2019 – Support for Scorpion for a survey of trade in otters
  • 2019 – Support for Cikananga Wildlife Rescue for their care of Asian Small-clawed Otters
  • 2020 – Support for SUMECO for the care of Asian Small-clawed Otters and one Eurasian Otter
  • 2020 – Support for Cikananga Wildlife Rescue for their care of Asian Small-clawed Otters


Species: Eurasian otter? The Japanese otter is believed to have been a subspecies of the Eurasian otter, but it is also possible that it was a separate species altogether.

The Japanese otter was officially declared extinct in 2012, although it was actually believed to have died out in the 1990's with the last photo taken in the wild back in 1979.

Otters used to be found throughout Japan but were largely wiped out through trapping for fur. They hung on in the Kochi and Ehime prefectures on islands with little hunting but finally appeared to die out, possibly as a result of habitat destruction.

In 2014 the International Otter Survival Fund was invited to a workshop in Japan as part of a feasibility study into reintroducing otters to the Shiretoko National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Hokkaido. This is part of a long-term reforestation project called the Shiretoko 100 Square Meter Movement, which began in 1977. The aim of the project is to restore forest growth and biodiversity, within a time frame of 100 to 200 years, and includes the possible reintroduction of the river otter (Lutra lutra).

In August 2017, the Japanese Ministry announced that a video of an otter was taken in February 2017 on the island of Tsushima, in the Nagasaki prefecture, which is located between the Korean peninsula and Japan. The video was taken by Dr Izawa, from Ryukyu University, who was studying the Tsushima wildcat.

DNA analysis of two faecal samples revealed that one of them is from a Eurasian otter and it is similar to the Korean population. However, it has not yet been confirmed, whether this is a remnant individual of the "Japanese otter" or an individual from Korea (August 2017).

Legal Protection: Protected by Act on Conservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna & Flora (1992)

IOSF supported projects

  • 2014 – Invited to Japan as part of consultancy for proposed reintroduction programme on Hokkaido
  • 2015 – Hosted Takahiro Murakami in his visit to UK to see otters in the wild and see IOSF education programme
  • 2019 – IOSF represented by Mine Okamura at the Asian Otter Conservation Society of Japan meeting


Species: Eurasian Otter

Present but no more information


Species: Eurasian Otter

Found in Chon-Alay valley and upper tributaries of Kizil-Suu river. Believed to be extinct elsewhere.

Legal protection: Not known

Threats: Habitat loss, lack of prey, poaching, disturbance, dogs


Species: Eurasian, Asian Small-clawed, Smooth-coated and Hairy-nosed Otter. (de Silva 2006)

Found in Nakai District during IOSF training workshop in 2018. May also be present in Nam Et Phou Louey NP. Population unknown.

Click here for the full report on the IOSF training workshop.

Legal Protection: All four species protected by Wildlife & Aquatic Law (2007).

Threats: Habitat destruction.

IOSF supported projects

  • 2018 – Training workshop at the Nakai Nam Theun National Protected Area. View the Report
  • 2019 – World Otter Day grant for an outreach meeting at Paksan Forestry College
  • 2020 to present – Support for Kiengkai Khoonsrivong for the formation of a Team Otter Club


Species: Eurasian, Smooth-coated, Hairy-nosed and Asian Small-clawed Otter.

Only Small-clawed and Smooth-coated are found in peninsula Malaysia, while in eastern Malaysia all four species exist. The Hairy-nosed Otter population occurs in peat swamp forest near Nenasi.

In 2009 a research team working in Deramakot Forest Reserve, in the Malaysian state of Sabah, at the northern end of the island of Borneo, took a photo of a Hairy-nosed Otter with a camera trap. This was the first record in Sabah in more than a hundred years. 

In 2013 Nick Baker, a wildlife enthusiast who runs, visited the western side of Taman Negara, Peninsular Malaysia, where he saw and photographed a hairy-nosed otter. Before this there had only been a couple of confirmed sightings of the species in Peninsular Malaysia in the last 50 years

A. Sebastian (1995) - The Hairy-Nosed Otter in Peninsular Malaysia

Legal Protection: All four species protected by Wildlife Conservation Act (2010), Wild Life Protection Ordinance (1998), Wildlife Conservation Enactment (1997). But the Eurasian otter is not listed as a protected species in Sabah, and so is only protected in wildlife sanctuaries with other wildlife.

Threats: Habitat destruction and pesticides.

IOSF supported projects

  • 2017 – Support for Farid in his care of an Asian Small-clawed Otter cub
  • 2019 – World Otter Day grant to Leona Wai for a human-otter conflict workshop with fishermen in Batu Puteh, Kinabatangan, Sabah, Borneo
  • 2020 - World Otter Day grant to Malaysian Nature Society for an event themed “Born to be WILD; Not caged; Live WILDLY”.


Species: Eurasian Otter.

According to the IUCN Red List the Eurasian otter was “once widespread in the rivers of northern Mongolia (Mallon 1985), along the rivers of Mongol Altai Mountain Range, and along the Halh River in Ikh Hyangan Mountain Range (Bannikov 1954, Dulamtseren 1970, Sokolov and Orlov 1980). It has also been reported from downstream of the Tengis River in northern parts of Hövsgöl Mountain Range (Tsagaan 1975, 1977) and around the Eröö River Basin in western Hentii Mountain Range (Tsendjav 2005). It can also be found occasionally along the Tes River in northern Hangai.”

A recent report on the current status of otters in Mongolia (Shar et al, 2018) shows that there are otters present in Northern, Eastern and Western Mongolia but not in the south where waterways are very limited. Survey revealed that otters seemed to be most prevalent in the east of the country and in particular the Numrug River and Khalkh River.

Legal Protection: Fully protected since 1930.

Threats: Poaching.

Myanmar (formerly Burma)

Species: Asian Small-clawed, Smooth-coated , Eurasian and Hairy-nosed.

Hairy-nosed otters were confirmed as being present in 2014 when a freshly killed animal was found in a market at Mong La. This is only the second record of this species for Myanmar and the first one was a skin collected in the north of the country in 1939.

The Smooth-coated Otter is widely distributed but no other information is available.

The Eurasian Otter is reported as being present but there is no further data.

Legal Protection: Eurasian, Asian small-clawed and smooth-coated otters protected by Protection of Wildlife & Wild Plants & Conservation of Natural Areas Law (1994) but not the hairy-nosed otter as it is not recognised as existing in the country.

Threats: Not known.

IOSF supported projects

  • 2017 – Support for Ye Myint Lwin in his care of a Smooth-coated Otter cub


Species: Eurasian Otter, Smooth-coated otter and the Asian small-clawed otter

Eurasian otters dwell in mountain streams, rivers and lakes. They have been recorded from West Seti river and Rara Lake in the far west of Nepal, and also Rupa Lake and Begnas Lake of Pokhara valley in Central Nepal. However there are no recent records and most are over 30 years old. Smooth-coated otters have been reported in major river basins of Nepal: Koshi, Narayani, Karnali and Mahakali rivers. The presence of Asian Small-clawed otters has been recorded but the distribution of this species has not been recently reported.

Legal Protection: None.

Threats: Over-fishing, fishing conflicts, pollution, hydroelectric plants, habitat destruction and disturbance.

IOSF supported projects

  • 2002 – Support for Tej Bbahadur Thapa’s study of Smooth-coated Otters in Bardia National Park
  • 2006 – Support for a training workshop at the Royal Chitwan National Park
  • 2010 – Support for Gandhiv Kafle’s study of the otters in the Pokhara Valley
  • 2012 – Support for Paras Acharya’s study of Smooth-coated Otters in the Babai Valley of Bardia National Park
  • 2016 – Support for the attendance of Mohan Bikram Shrestha and Purna Man Shrestha at the IOSF training workshop in China
  • 2017 – World Otter Day grant to Balram Awasthi for an otter conservation rally
  • 2018 – Support for Rohit Jha’s study into factors affecting abundance and distribution of Smooth-coated Otters in the Karnali corridor
  • 2020 – Support for Jyoti Bhandari for her education and public awareness programme
  • 2020 – World Otter Day grant to Aarati Basnet and a group of otter conservationists for a webinar for 200 people to raise awareness of otters and the delicate ecosystem of which they are a vital part
  • 2020 to present – Support for Aarati Basnet for Team Otter club in Shuklaphanta National Park

The Journal of Wetlands Ecology is a half-yearly online journal from the Wetland Friends of Nepal (WFN) dedicated to the exchange and dissemination of information related to wetland issues connecting wetlands, human and wildlife, including otters.

There is a very active Nepal Otter Network carrying out research and education/public awareness. Please contact if you wish to know more about this.

North Korea

Species: Eurasian otter.

Otters are protected in three reserves: Sinyang Otter Reserve, Daehung Otter Reserve and Popdong Otter Reserve. Otters also inhabit the upper reaches of all the major North Korean rivers.

Legal Protection: Not known.

Threats: Not known.


Species: Smooth-coated and Eurasian Otter.

The Eurasian Otter is not common and occurs in the Northwest Frontier Province. The distribution of Smooth-coated otters in Pakistan is believed to be smaller than previously thought. Sightings and data suggest that the species is now only present in the Indus plains of the Sindh and Punjab provinces. There is a lack of recent records from the Khyber Pakhtun Khwa province so the presence of species is unknown within this area. There have been some unconfirmed reports of Smooth-coated otters in the Balochistan province but these are yet to be verified.

The Pakistan Wildlife Foundation was founded by Waseem Khan after attending the Cambodian Otter Workshop in 2007.

Legal Protection: Both species are fully protected.

Threats: Overhunting and damming of rivers.

IOSF supported projects

  • 2010 – Support for Waseem Khan in his attendance at the Cambodian training workshop. He went on to carry out survey work and establish the Pakistan Wildlife Foundation
  • 2014 – Support for education work by Waseem Khan
  • 2020 – Support for Zafeer Ahmed Shaikh’s study of Smooth-coated Otters in selected wetlands of Thatta district, Sindh Province


Species: Asian Small-clawed Otter.

Occurs in estuaries, tidal areas and rivers but only on Palawan, the western island province of the Philippines and this is because of the Wallace Line. This was discovered in 1859 by the naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace who realised that the fauna and flora in eastern Indonesia is different to that in the west. In fact, a distinct line can be drawn between Bali and Lombok with the species in the east being more Australasian and those in the west being more Asian. The Wallace Line was extended by Thomas Henry Huxley to show that the biodiversity of Palawan is different to the rest of the Philippines. This makes the population very important and it is vital that proper protocols and protection are set up for the otters, not just for the care of individual animals which may be found but for the protection of habitats to sustain wild populations. Diana Limjoco has been campaigning tirelessly for the protection of the natural habitat of Palawan. She has also cared for orphaned otters and worked to ensure proper steps are taken when such animals are found.

Legal Protection: Protected by Wildlife Resources Conservation & Protect Act RA9147 (2001).

Threats: Loss of habitat due to logging and mining.

IOSF supported projects

  • 2014 to present – Support for Diana Limjoco in her care of orphaned Asian Small-clawed Otters and a new enclosure
  • 2017 – Support for Diana Limjoco in her campaign to protect the environment of Turtle and Binunsalian Bays on the island of Palawan


Species: Asian Small-clawed and Smooth-coated Otter. ( Thought to be extinct (de Silva 2006))

Single Asian Small-clawed family lives on Pulau Tekong Besar, an island north east of the main island. The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, at the northern edge of the country, is also part of the East Asian Migratory Flyway in which countless birds migrate each year from Siberia and China to Australia and New Zealand, and back again, it is the home for a family of Smooth coated otters.

Smooth-coated otters are now regularly seen in Singapore and in 2016 there were reported to be 50 otters in the country. There are families in Bishan, Tanah Merah, Serangoon and Pulau Ubin and the Bishan 10 family were chosen to represent the country’s 51st year. However there are some problems in Sentosa where they are taking fish out of ponds in residential homes or luxury hotels. An Otter Working Group has been set up to look into these issues and includes representatives from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority, National Parks Board, Animal Concerns Research and Education Society, National University of Singapore, Wildlife Reserves Singapore and OtterWatch.

Legal Protection: Both species protected by Wild Animals & Birds Act (1965).

Threats: Disturbance of waterways and mining activity.

South Korea

Species: Eurasian otter.

Were endangered and rare but now across much of the country as conservation and habitat improvement has increased. It is distributed in rivers, streams, lakes and reservoirs.

Legal Protection: Protected by Protection of Wild Fauna & Flora Act (2004).

Threats: Habitat fragmentation and destruction, human conflict

IOSF supported projects

  • 2007 – IOSF presented at the Otter Specialists Group colloquium
  • 2007 – Support for Eurasian Otter cub in care of South Korea Otter Centre
  • 2020 – Online presentation for Samsung on otters and the need for conservation

Sri Lanka

Species: Eurasian otter.

Was once widespread from sea level to the mountains but today very restricted. (de Silva 2006). Still rare but there are now regular sightings at Jetwing Vil Uyana in the central area, first reported by de Silva and Nugegoda (IOSF Journal Vol 4 LINK TO A very enthusiastic group of young conservationists had carried out habiat restoration work in abandoned paddy fields there and since then Chaminda Jayasekara has obtained excellent photos and videos with camera traps.

Legal Protection: Protected.

Threats: Habitat destruction, pesticide pollution and hydro-electric dams.

IOSF supported projects

  • 2016 – Support for the attendance of Wasana de Silva at the IOSF training workshop in China
  • 2018 to present – Support for Chaminda Jayasekara at Jetwing Vil Uyana for his education and research work


Species: Eurasian otter.

Found on Kinimen island

Legal Protection: Protected by Wildlife Conservation Law (1989).

Threats: Habitat fragmentation, road kills, water extraction

IOSF supported projects

  • 2016 – Support for the attendance of Ling-Ling Lee at the IOSF training workshop in China
  • 2018 – Invited to International Conference on Eurasian Otter Conservation and Re-introduction


Species: Eurasian Otter

Throughout country in low numbers. Present in floodplains of Vakhsh, Pyanj & Murghab rivers.

Legal protection: Not known

Threats: Habitat loss, conflicts with fishermen


Species: Eurasian, Asian Small-clawed, Smooth-coated and Hairy-nosed Otter.

The Hairy-nosed Otter was thought to be extinct in 1998 but a population was found in 1999 in the Toa Daeng peat swamp in southern Thailand.

The Eurasian Otter was thought to be extinct in 1990 but was found in Uthai Thani province in southern Thailand in 1994. Now thought to be mainly distributed in the north and west.

The Asian Small-clawed is found in many National Parks throughout Thailand with large numbers in the western forested areas. (de Silva 2006)

The Smooth-coated Otter occurs in western and southern areas and is common in the Mekong delta.

Legal Protection: All four species protected by Wild Animals Preservation & Protection Act (1992).

Threats: Habitat destruction, illegal killing, pollution to waterways.

IOSF supported projects

  • 2000-2017 - Support for Budsabong Kanchanasaka in her research into the Hairy-nosed Otter
  • 2016 – Support for the attendance of Budsabong Kanchanasaka at the IOSF training workshop in China
  • 2019 to present – Support for Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand for new facilities for confiscated Asian Small-clawed Otters and their care

Photo courtesy of Budsabong Kanchanasaka


Species: Eurasian Otter

Present but little information.

Legal protection: Not known

Threats: Not known


Species: Eurasian Otter

Present but no more information.

Legal protection: Not known

Threats: Not known


Species: Eurasian, Asian Small-clawed, Smooth-coated and Hairy-nosed Otter.(de Silva 2006)

Otters occur throughout the country in a variety of habitats, but all four species are threatened and need urgent conservation measures.

There is no information on Eurasian Otters and no records since 1990s and these cannot be verified. All other records from early to mid 20th century were genuine.

The Kien Giang biosphere reserve is included in the list of biospheres by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This 1.1 million hectare reserve consists of three core areas: U Minh Thuong National Park, Phu Quoc National Park, and Kien Luong–Kien Hai protected coastal forest. It has a varied ecology comprising tropical rainforests, Melaleuca forests, salt-marsh forests, submerged forests, savanna, coral reefs, and seagrass. It is also home to various endangered species, including the hairy-nosed otter (Lutra sumatrana).

Legal Protection: All four species protected by Decree No 32/2006/ND-CP, Decree No 59/2005/ND-CP, Decree 157/2013/ND-CP.

Threats: Habitat destruction due to Vietnam war - even now there are still effects from the use of Agent Orange. Illegal killing by fishermen, pollution to waterways.

IOSF supported projects

  • 2000 – Support for Nguyen Xuan Dang’s study of the Hairy-nosed Otter in U Minh Thuoung Nature Reserve
  • 2002-3 – Support for Nguyen Xuan Dang’s study of the Hairy-nosed Otter in U Minh Ho Nature Reserve
  • 2019 to present – Support for Save Vietnam’s Wildlife care of otters rescued form the pet trade


Species: Eurasian Otter

Present but no more information


Species: Eurasian Otter

Present but no more information