Why in news?
Recently, scientists from Jammu obtained a photographic record of the semi-aquatic carnivorous mammal (Eurasian Otters) in a tributary of the Chenab river, it has indicated that not all is lost for a Jammu and Kashmir stream.
About Eurasian otters:
- The Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), also known as the European otter, Eurasian river otter, common otter, and Old World otter, is a semiaquatic mammal native to Eurasia.
- The most widely distributed member of the otter subfamily (Lutrinae) of the weasel family (Mustelidae), it is found in the waterways and coasts of Europe, many parts of Asia, and parts of northern Africa.
- In India, it is distributed in the Himalayan foothills, southern Western Ghats and the central Indian landscape.
- The Eurasian otter has a diet mainly of fish, and is strongly territorial. It is endangered in some parts of its range, but is recovering in others.
- The Eurasian otter is an elusive, solitary otter that has one of the widest distributions of all palearctic mammals, from Ireland to China and down to SoutheastAsia.
- Notwithstanding its large range, its population is declining in many countries in which it is not protected and in others its status is unknown.
- This species has made a spectacular comeback in the British Isles since the 1980s when pollution levels decreased and it became protected.
- This playful otter has a varied diet which includes fish, crustaceans, amphibians and sometimes reptiles, birds, eggs, insects and worms.
- It is usually nocturnal and can be found in many freshwater environments. In some environments, however, such as the Scottish Isles, it has diurnal habits and forages in the sea, later looking for freshwater pools to wash the salt out of its pelt.
- The Eurasian otter is solitary, but sometimes it is seen in family groups, composed of a mother and her offspring.
- Eurasian Otter Lutra lutra has most recently been assessed for The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 2020. Lutra lutra is listed as Near Threatened under criteria A2c.