Smooth-coated otter was sighted for the first time in the mangrove forest adjacent to the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary in Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh.
Seven otters, including a family of four, were found in a playful mood. They were photographed while preying on the fish in the brackish waters.
The forest authorities with the support of a local wetland researcher, A. Venkata Appa Rao, have documented the presence of the Smooth-coated otter in the mangrove forests and brackish water channels in Eelachetladibba and Lankevennedibba and other areas outside the sanctuary.
As per the Wildlife Division of the Forest Department, Eluru, there was not a single sighting of the otter in the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary to document until now.
About smooth-coated otter
• The smooth-coated otter is a species of otter, the only extant representative of the genus Lutrogale.
• The species is found in most of the Indian Subcontinent and eastwards to Southeast Asia. An isolated population of the species is also found in the marshes of Iraq.
• The fur of this species is smoother and shorter than that of other otters.
• They weigh from 7 to 11 kg in weight and measure 59 to 64 cm in head-body length, with a tail 37 to 43 cm long.
• They may be distinguished from other species of otters by a more rounded head and a hairless nose in the shape of a distorted diamond.
• According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), conservation status of the smooth-coated otter is vulnerable.
• They predominantly prey on the fish but often eat shrimp and crab.
About Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary
• Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary and estuary located in Andhra Pradesh.
• It is one of the rarest eco-regions of the world owing to the fact that it harbours vast tracts of pristine mangrove forests.
• It is believed among conservationists as one of the last remaining tracts of thick primary mangrove forests of South India, which is rapidly disappearing due to absence of protective measures.