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Conservation Prospects of Smooth-coated Otter Lutrogale perspicillata (Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1826) in Rajasthan

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Faunal Heritage of Rajasthan, India

Abstract

This chapter attempts to elucidate conservation ecology of Smooth-coated Otter Lutrogale perspicillata through a review based on past studies in Rajasthan. Otters are semiaquatic members of the Mustelidae family, and their presence serves as an important biological indicator of wetland quality. Of the five species of otters reported from Asia, three species, namely, Eurasian Otter Lutra lutra, Smooth-coated Otter Lutrogale perspicillata and the Small-clawed Otter Aonyx cinereus, are found in India. The Smooth-coated Otter is the largest and the most common of Asian otters; being distributed throughout India, L. perspicillata prefers habitats such as large rivers, lakes and swamps and tends to compete for resources with A. cinereus and L. lutra when all the three species occur sympatrically. The species is listed as Vulnerable (VU) by the IUCN and is in Appendix II of the CITES and Schedule II (Part II) of the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act, 2006. Studies on otters are scanty, and the only known distribution of the species in Rajasthan has been recorded from the “World Heritage site”, Keoladeo National Park [Bharatpur] and the National Chambal Sanctuary [Kota]. While some measure of research has been established, the distributional records are largely subjective or are based on chance observations, and as a result, there exists no concrete database for monitoring the population trends of this species. Conservation issues and need for the protection of fauna have been discussed in this chapter.

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Acknowledgements

I express my gratitude to Dr. B.K. Sharma (Head, Department of Zoology), R.L. Saharia Government College, Jaipur, and Dr. Seema Kulshreshtha (co-editor) and Dr. A.R. Rahmani, Director, Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai (co-editor) for providing me the opportunity to publish this manuscript. I thank my collegues at WWF-India for their support and encouragements during this review study. Mr. Anoop K.R, IFS, is thanked for his consent to publish his “Otter” photographs. I thank the anonymous referee(s) for reviewing the manuscript.

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Nawab, A. (2013). Conservation Prospects of Smooth-coated Otter Lutrogale perspicillata (Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1826) in Rajasthan. In: Sharma, B., Kulshreshtha, S., Rahmani, A. (eds) Faunal Heritage of Rajasthan, India. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-01345-9_13

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