Rarest otter discovered in Borneo

July 27th, 2010 - 4:57 pm ICT by ANI  

London, July 27 (ANI): The world’s rarest otter has been rediscovered in Borneo when a single animal tripped an automatic camera placed by conservationists.

The hairy-nosed otter was clicked in the Deramakot Forest Reserve in Sabah.

The last confirmed record of the hairy-nosed otter in the state of Sabah was more than 100 years ago.

The otter can be seen only in some locations outside of Borneo.

Experts only realised they had recorded a hairy-nosed otter (Lutra sumatrana) after examining photos of three different otter species.Andreas Wilting, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research said One otter species caught on camera was the smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata), while another was the Asian small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus).

But a close examination of one photograph revealed it had recorded a hairy-nosed otter, which has a flatter, longer head, a white throat and darker fur than its two relatives.

The otter was recorded by an automated camera trap, one of many set up in Deramakot and the surrounding forest reserves during the last two years as part of the Conservation of Carnivores in Sabah (ConCaSa) project

“Even over the whole island of Borneo the last record, a road-kill from Brunei, was 1997, over ten years ago. Therefore it was unknown to scientists if this species can be still found on Borneo,” the BBC quoted said Andreas Wilting of the IZW as saying.”This is great news for Sabah and shows once again how unique and fortunate we are in terms of wildlife and nature,” said Laurentius Ambu of the Sabah Wildlife Department.

“These findings also boost the conservation of this endangered otter internationally, as historically this otter was distributed throughout large parts of southeast Asia.”

Details of the latest finding were published in the journal Small Carnivore Conservation, a publication of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission. (ANI)

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