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Otters in Captivity

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Marine Mammal Welfare

Part of the book series: Animal Welfare ((AWNS,volume 17))

Abstract

In 2015 there were a minimum of 1621 otters of eight species (Asian small-clawed otter Aonyx cinereus, Sea otter Enhydra lutris, Spotted-necked otter Hydrictis maculicollis, N.A. river otter Lontra canadensis, Marine otter Lontra felina, Neotropical otter Lontra longicaudis, Eurasian otter Lutra lutra, Smooth-coated otter Lutrogale perspicillata, and Giant otter Pteronura brasiliensis) held in major zoos and aquariums. Husbandry, or the care and management of otters in captivity, has improved gradually over the last two decades. Fifty years ago recommendations were made that outlined the need for large, complex land areas and other features key to ensuring high levels of otter welfare, which many ex situ facilities, such as zoos, aquariums, and rehabilitation facilities, have now adopted. Increased welfare of captive otters is due partially from improved environmental conditions such as better habitat design, and partially from improved understanding of otter nutritional and health needs. This chapter discusses otter species kept in captivity and focuses on their care and well-being. This includes husbandry improvements over the last few decades, as well as some of the continuing concerns regarding otter welfare in zoos, aquariums, and rehabilitation situations. We address the benefit of multi-institutional research into welfare issues and the potential benefit of improving habitat designs allowing otters a greater choice and control over their environment.

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Reed-Smith, J., Larson, S. (2017). Otters in Captivity. In: Butterworth, A. (eds) Marine Mammal Welfare. Animal Welfare, vol 17. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-46994-2_31

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