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Eurasian Otter Spotted in Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

  • Recently, the Eurasian Otter (Lutra lutra) was spotted for the first time in the state of Kerala, at the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary in Idukki.

About Eurasian Otter

  • A semi-aquatic carnivorous mammal.
  • Displays shy and nocturnal behaviour, often active during nighttime.
  • Flourishes in a range of aquatic environments, encompassing highland and lowland lakes, rivers, streams, marshes, swamp forests, and coastal areas.
  • Classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN list, signalling a species at risk of becoming endangered.
  • Holds legal protection in India as it is listed under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972.
  • Recognized internationally under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  • Kerala is home to three distinct otter species, with the Eurasian Otter being one of them. The other two are the Smooth-coated Otter and the Small-clawed Otter.


About Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

·       Situated in the Idukki District of Kerala.

·       Occupies a significant portion of the protected forests in the Annamalai hills, sharing borders with Tamil Nadu.

·       Diverse landscape characterized by rocky terrains, hillocks, and valleys.

·       Shares boundaries with the Kodaikanal Wildlife Sanctuary to the East and the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary to the North.

·       Encompasses varied ecosystems, including dry deciduous forests, wet grasslands, high sholas, dry thorny scrub forests, and riparian forests.

·       Major rivers flowing through the sanctuary include Chinnar and Pambar.

·       Boasts a rich biodiversity with around 1000 species of flowering plants, including rare and unique species such as Elaeocarpus recurvatus, Arabica, Acacia leucophloea, Santalum album, and Neelakurinji.

·       Provides a habitat for endangered species like the Grizzled Giant Squirrel, Gaur, Rusty-Spotty Cat, Sambar, Nilgiri Tahr, Bonnet Macaques, Tufted Grey Langur, Spotted Deer, and more.

·       A diversity of bird species, including Black Eagle, Yellow-throated Bulbuls, Grey Heron, Serpent Eagle, Little Egret, etc.

·       Abundance of butterflies, fishes, reptiles, and various insects.

·       Notably, the sanctuary serves as the only rehabilitation centre for the Indian Star Tortoise in India.

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