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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.

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.


Species: Asian Small-clawed, Smooth-coated and Eurasian Otter ( No recent information is available (de Silva 2006))

Legal Protection: Not known.

Threats: Not known.


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


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.


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. (de Silva 2006)

Eurasian otters have been found in Lake Kribco near the city of Surat in South Gujarat. It is believed that this is the only site for this otter 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 conservation of the wetlands - for further information

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

Threats: Habitat destruction, pollution and illegal hunting.

IOSF funded projects

1999 - Funded rehabilitation and release programme for a Smooth-coated Otter cub in Bangalore


Wildlife Society of India
Nature Club Surat


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

Hairy-nosed otters were found in 2003 in Sumba fresh waters, especially the Melolo river. In 2005 this picture 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.

Recent data on the Eurasian otter in Indonesia is non-existent. 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.

You can read the full report on the workshop here.

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.

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.


Species: Eurasian and Smooth-coated Otter

The Eurasian Otter can be found in rivers and lakes in the Zagros, Elburz and Koppe-Dagh mountain range and in the Iranian Azarbaiejan. Otters are also found south of the Caspian Sea in the Golestan province. Smooth-coated otters are also present in the border region with Iraq. (Addy de Jongh 2015 personal communication). The Smooth- coated Otter may be present as it is common in Pakistan and Iraq. In 1997 furs harvested on the Iran and Iraq border were from Smooth-coated Otters.

Legal Protection: Legally protected.

Threats: Pollution, habitat destruction and road mortality.


Species: Eurasian and Smooth-coated Otter (sub-species maxwellii, also called Maxwell’s Otter, Iraq Smooth-coated Otter, Mesopotamian Otter, Arabian Otter)

Both Eurasian and smooth-coated otters are present in Iraq and became very rare after the Iraqi marshlands inundation in 2003. The subspecies Maxwell’s Otter (L. p. maxwelli), “Iraq smooth-coated otter” is endemic to the Iraqi marshes and was named after Gavin Maxwell, the author of Ring of Bright Water, who discovered the species. Maxwell’s Otter is a flagship species for the country.

The numbers of both species decreased dramatically due to hunting, trapping, and habitat loss and destruction (i.e. marshland drainage). Adult otters are sometimes targeted by Marsh Arabs (hunters and local fishermen) in order to collect their fur, while their cubs are trapped to be raised as pets or trained to help anglers in fishing.

Photo courtesy of Omar Al-Sheikhly and Mukhtar Haba-Iraqi Green Climate Organization

Photographic evidence of both species was recently obtained. The first photographic record of smooth-coated otters in the wild was obtained from Al-Edheam Marsh at the northern edge of Hawizeh Marsh in southern Iraq in 2017. The Eurasian otter was photographed in the Al-Hammar Marsh (southern Iraq) in 2014 and at the Mosul Dam (northern Iraq) in 2017. It is hoped that the photographic record of the endemic smooth-coated otter will support the Mesopotamian Marshlands to persist and endure as a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. (Source: Al-Sheikhly, O.F., Haba, M.K., Fazaa, N.A., Barbanera, F., et al. First photographic evidence of smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata maxwelli) and Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra seistanica) in Iraq since 1950s. OTTER, The Journal of the International Otter Survival Fund Vol 3 pp 15-20)

Legal Protection: Iraqi legislation regulates hunting of both species under Iraqi wildlife protection law n. 17 issued in 2010.

The protection of otters is an environmental responsibility that needs to be achieved at a national level by Iraq. In 2013 the government made an important first step for the achievement of this goal by signing the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES). Hence, restrictions against the illegal commerce of live otters as well as of their parts (e.g., skins) are in force, as the European and smooth-coated otter are listed in Appendix I and II, respectively.

Threats: Illegal hunting/trapping, habitat loss and fragmentation (marshlands drought)


Species: Eurasian Otter.

Until the middle of the 20th century otters were abundant in Israel in all coastal rivers from the Lebanese border in the north to the Soreq river in the south as well as along the Jordan river including the Hula Lake and the sea of Galilee. Surveys in the 1990s found it had virtually gone from the coastal areas with healthy populations in the Jordan river catchments including Lake Tiberias and an estimate of the total Israel population is only about 100.

It would seem that the main otter population in Israel is in the Hula Valley and Jordan River highlands. A survey in 2014 examined 106 sites in these two areas as well as the Golan Heights, the Lake Kinneret basin, the Jordan Valley, the Harod Valley and the Beit She’an Valley. This revealed a serious decline in populations:

In the Hula Valley and Jordan River highlands numbers were down by approximately 9% as compared with 2013.

The Lake Kinneret basin and Jordan Valley sites showed a sharp drop of 18%.

For the fourth consecutive year there were no otter signs in the Jezreel and Zevulun valleys.

For the third consecutive year there were no otter signs in the Harod and Beit She’an valleys.

For the first time since 2000, there were no signs of otters in the Golan Heights.

As a result otters are now defined as a Critically Endangered species in Israel and certain important conservation steps have been recommended: establishing a breeding nucleus to help populations to recover, restoring ecological corridors to connect otter communities, restoring abandoned bodies of water and wetland habitats.

To read more click here.

Legal Protection: Protected..

Threats: Pollution, habitat destruction and road mortality.


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)


Species: Eurasian Otter.

Jordan is at the south eastern border of the North African range of the Eurasian otter. There are not many permanent waterways in Jordan and in 2000 a field survey was carried out on the Rivers Yarmuk, Jordan and Zarka, where there were reports of otters. Signs were found on the Yarmuk and Jordan but nothing on the Zarka. Little further work has been done.

Legal Protection: Protected

Threats: Pollution and accidental deaths in fish traps.


Species: Eurasian Otter

Present but no more information


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

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

Threats: Habitat destruction.


Species: Eurasian Otter.

Otters are very rare in Lebanon but are known to breed in the Bekaa wetlands and Chouor reserve ( They are also recorded from Anjar (Society for the Protection of Nature of Lebanon,

Legal Protection: Not known.

Threats: Not known.


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.


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.

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.


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 funded projects:

2003 - Survey of the Smooth-coated Indian Otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) in the Karnali River of Royal Bardia National Park, Nepal

2004 - Survey of the Smooth Indian Otter Lutra perspicillata in the Karnali River of Bardia National Park by Tej Thapa

2008 - Survey of Otters in Pokhara Valley Lakes of Nepal by Gandhiv Kafle

2012 - Survey of Lutrogale perspicillata in Babai Valley of Bardiya National Park by Paras Acharya

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 Smooth-coated Otter is more common and can be found again in the Northwest Frontier Province. Good areas for the Smooth coated otter are Haleji, Hadero, kennjhar lake bufferzone, Zangi Nawar Lake,Ucchali, Khabbika, Jalar lake bufferzone,The Sind and Mekran coast, Indus Delta and River system and Rawal Lake.(de Silva 2006).

An update on the situation in Pakistan was published in the IUCN Otter Specialists Group Bulletin in 2010 - Otter Conservation In Pakistan Pages 89 - 92 by Waseem Ahmad Khan and Hussain Bux Bhagat.

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.


Species: Asian Small-clawed Otter.

Occurs in estuaries, tidal areas and rivers in Palawan, the western island province of the Philippines.

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

Threats: Loss of habitat due to logging and mining.


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.

Endangered and rare.

It is distributed in rivers, streams, lakes and reservoirs. Recently it has undergone a dramatic decline due to overhunting and habitat loss.(IUCN2007)

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

Threats: Not known.

Sri Lanka

Species: Eurasian otter.

Once was widespread from sea level to the mountains but today very restricted. (de Silva 2006)

Legal Protection: Protected.

Threats: Pesticide pollution and hydro-electric dams.


Species: Eurasian otter.

Found on the river Euphrates but numbers have dropped over the last 40 years following construction of the Tabagua dam.

Legal Protection: Not known.

Threats: Hunting and dam construction.


Species: Eurasian otter.

Reported in 1998 on Kinmen and Little Kinmen islands, Taiwan.

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

Threats: Not known.


Species: Eurasian Otter

Present but no more information


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 it was found in Uthai Thani province in southern Thailand in 1994. 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 funded projects:

2001 - Hairy-nosed Otter project in Thailand

2001 - First pictures of Hairy-nosed Otter in Thailand.

Photo courtesy of Budsabong Kanchanasaka


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.

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 funded projects

Results of the Hairy-nosed Otter project in Vietnam


Species: Eurasian Otter

Present but no more information


Species: Eurasian Otter

Present but no more information