Main Article Content
The Eurasian Otter Lutra lutra is an elusive, solitary animal that has one of the widest distributions of all palearctic mammals. Once widely distributed in Asia, the Eurasian Otter population is now vulnerable to urbanization, pollution, poaching, and dam construction. Eurasian Otter distribution in the Indian Himalayan rivers is little explored, and information from this high-altitude riverine ecosystem is sparse. This publication reports a rare photographic record of the Eurasian Otter which confirms its presence in the high-altitude temperate forest of the Upper Bhagirathi Basin, western Himalayan region. The otter was recorded during investigations of terrestrial and aquatic fauna in the Bhagirathi Basin (7,586 km2, 500–5,000 m) of Uttarakhand State, India from October 2015 to May 2019. Among aquatic fauna, Brown Trout were found to be abundant in high altitude river stretches, with a catch per unit effort of 1.02 kg h–1. Additionally, 26 families of freshwater macroinvertebrates underscored a rich diet available for the Brown Trout, which in turn is a potential food source for the otters. The riverine ecosystem is undergoing dramatic changes because of the increasing demand for hydropower plants in the Bhagirathi Basin. Although mitigation measures are currently in place for fish, the presence of otters further necessitates the need for targeted management for high-altitude Himalayan rivers. There is an imperative need for intensive otter surveys using methods such as camera traps in riparian habitats along the Bhagirathi River and its tributaries.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors own the copyright to the articles published in JoTT. This is indicated explicitly in each publication. The authors grant permission to the publisher Wildlife Information Liaison Development (WILD) Society to publish the article in the Journal of Threatened Taxa. The authors recognize WILD as the original publisher, and to sell hard copies of the Journal and article to any buyer. JoTT is registered under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY), which allows authors to retain copyright ownership. Under this license the authors allow anyone to download, cite, use the data, modify, reprint, copy and distribute provided the authors and source of publication are credited through appropriate citations (e.g., Son et al. (2016). Bats (Mammalia: Chiroptera) of the southeastern Truong Son Mountains, Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam. Journal of Threatened Taxa 8(7): 8953–8969. https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.27184.108.40.20653-8969). Users of the data do not require specific permission from the authors or the publisher.
Agarwal, N.K., G. Singh, H. Singh, N. Kumar & U.S. Rawat (2018). Ecological impacts of dams on the fish diversity of Bhagirathi River in Central Himalaya (India). Journal of Coldwater Fisheries 1(1): 74–84.
Atkinson, E.T. (1882). The Himalayan Gazetteer, 3 vols, reprinted 1989. Cosmo Publications, New Delhi, 2,631pp.
Bain, M.B & N.J. Stevenson (1999). Aquatic habitat assessment. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD, United States, 224pp.
Chopra, R., B.P. Das, H. Dhyani, A. Verma, H.S. Venkatesh, H.B. Vasistha, D.P. Dobhal, N. Juyal, S. Sathyakumar, S. Pathak & T.K.S. Chauhan (2014). Assessment of environmental degradation and impact of hydroelectric projects during the June 2013 disaster in Uttarakhand. Part I-Main Report. Submitted for publication to The Ministry of Environment and Forests Government of India, 226pp.
Conroy, J., R. Melisch & P. Chanin (1998). The distribution and status of the Eurasian Otter (Lutra lutra) in Asia—a preliminary review. IUCN Otter Specialist Group Bulletin 15(1): 15–30.
Corbet, G.B. & J.E. Hill (1992). The Mammals of the Indomalayan Region: A Systematic Review. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 488pp.
Corbet, G.H. (1966). The Terrestrial Mammals of Western Europe. Foulis, London, 264pp.
Durbin, L.S. (1998). Habitat selection by five otters Lutra lutra in rivers of northern Scotland. Journal of Zoology 245: 85–92. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7998.1998.tb00075.x
Fochetti, R., Amici, I. & Argano, R. (2003). Seasonal changes and selectivity in the diet of brown trout in the River Nera (Central Italy). Journal of Freshwater Ecology 18(3): 437–444. https://doi.org/10.1080/02705060.2003.9663979
Foster-Turley, P., S.M. Macdonald & C.F. Mason (Eds) (1990). Otters: an action plan for their conservation. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Gland, Switzerland, 126pp. https://doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.CH.1990.SSC-AP.3.en
Green, J., R. Green & D.J. Jefferies (1984). A radio-tracking survey of otters Lutra lutra on a Perthshire river system. Lutra 27: 85–145.
Gupta, N., V. Tiwari, M. Everard, M. Savage, S.A. Hussain, M.A. Chadwick, J.A. Johnson & V.K. Belwal (2020). Assessing the distribution pattern of otters in four rivers of the Indian Himalayan biodiversity hotspot. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 30(3): 601–610. https://doi.org/10.1002/aqc.3284
Hussain, S.A. (2002). A note on the historical records of otter distribution in India, with special reference to Lower Himalayas and Terai. In: Proceedings of the 7th international otter colloquium, otter conservation–an example for a sustainable use of wetlands. IUCN Otter Specialist Group Bulletin 19: 131–142.
Hussain, S.A. (2013). Otters, pp. 392–415. In: Johnsingh, A.J.T. & N. Manjrekar (eds). Mammals of South Asia, Volume 1. Universities Press, India, 694pp.
Kruuk, H. (1995). Wild Otters: Predation and Populations. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 290 pp.
Kruuk, H. (2006). Otters: Ecology, Behaviour and Conservation. Oxford University Press, 265pp. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198565871.001.0001
Kruuk, H., D.N. Carss, J.W.H. Conroy & L. Durbin (1993). Otter (Lutra lutra L.) numbers and fish productivity in rivers in N.E. Scotland. Symposia of the Zoological Society of London 65: 171–191.
Macdonald, S.M. & C.F. Mason (1994). Status and conservation needs of the otter (Lutra lutra) in the western Palaearctic. Nature and Environment. Council of Europe, Strasbourg, 54pp.
Mason, C.F. & S.M. Macdonald (1986). Otters: Ecology and Conservation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 248pp.
Menon, V. (2014). Indian Mammals: A Field Guide. Hachette India, Gurgaon, 528pp.
Morgan, A.C. & G.H. Burgess (2005). Fishery-dependent sampling: total catch, effort and catch composition, pp. 182–200. In: Musick, J.A. & R. Bonfil (eds.). Management techniques for elasmobranch fisheries. Fisheries Technical Paper 474, FAO, Rome.
Nawab, A. (2008). Conservation of otter species in India. Interim Field Report: Narora (Ramsar Site), Uttar Pradesh. Freshwater & Wetlands Programme, WWF-India, New Delhi, 10pp.
Pal, R., S. Thakur, S. Arya, T. Bhattacharya & S. Sathyakumar (2020). Mammals of the Bhagirathi Basin, Western Himalaya: understanding distribution along spatial gradients of habitats and disturbances. Oryx 55(5): 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605319001352
Prater, S.H. (1971). The Book of Indian Animals. Bombay Natural History Society, Bombay, 348pp.
Rajvanshi, A., R. Arora, V.B. Mathur, K. Sivakumar, S. Sathyakumar, G.S. Rawat, J.A. Johnson, K. Ramesh, N. Dimri & A. Maletha (2012). Assessment of cumulative impacts of hydroelectric projects on aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity in Alaknanda and Bhagirathi Basins, Uttarakhand. Technical Report, Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, India 203pp.
Rajwar, G.S. (1993). Garhwal Himalayas Ecology and Environment. Ashish Publishing house, New Delhi, 263pp.
Roos, A., A. Loy, P. de Silva, P. Hajkova & B. Zemanová (2015). Lutra lutra. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T12419A21935287. Downloaded on 10 July 2020. https://doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T12419A21935287.en
Ruiz-Olmo, J. & S. Palazón (1997). The diet of the European Otter (Lutra lutra L., 1758) in Mediterranean freshwater habitats. Journal of Wildlife Research 2(2): 171–181.
Sharma, A., V.K. Dubey, J.A. Johnson, Y.K. Rawal & K. Sivakumar (2021). Introduced, invaded and forgotten: allopatric and sympatric native snow trout life-histories indicate brown trout invasion effects in the Himalayan hinterlands. Biological Invasions 23: 1497–1515. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-020-02454-8
Webb, J.B. (2009). Food of the otter (Lutra lutra) on the Somerset levels. Journal of Zoology 177(4): 486–491. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7998.1975.tb02249.x
Yoxon, P. & B. Yoxon (2019). Eurasian Otter (Lutra lutra): A review of the current world status. Otter. Journal of the International Otter Survival Fund 5: 5–37.