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About The Eurasian Otter

Context:

A team of researchers recently discovered a Eurasian otter in the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary in Idukki, a first in Kerala.

Relevance:

GS III: Species in News

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Eurasian Otter: Exploring a Semi-Aquatic Carnivore
  2. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS): Exploring Biodiversity in Kerala

Eurasian Otter: Exploring a Semi-Aquatic Carnivore

Overview:
  • The Eurasian Otter is a semi-aquatic carnivorous mammal native to Eurasia.
  • Scientific Name: Lutra lutra
Distribution:
  • Exhibits one of the broadest distributions among all Palearctic mammals.
  • Ranges from Ireland to China and extends to Southeast Asia.
  • Found throughout Europe, North Africa, and Asia.
  • In India, it inhabits northern, northeastern, and southern regions.
Habitat:
  • Thrives in diverse environments, including streams, rivers, lakes, freshwater and peat swamp forests, ocean shores, rice fields, fjords, caves, and terrestrial areas near waterways.
  • In the Indian subcontinent, specifically found in cold hills and mountain streams.
Conservation Status:
  • IUCN: Near threatened
  • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule II
  • CITES: Appendix I
Significance:
  • Plays a vital role in maintaining the ecological balance of water ecosystems.
  • The near-threatened status highlights the need for conservation efforts to ensure the species’ survival.
  • Protected under national and international regulations, emphasizing its ecological importance and the need for conservation measures.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS): Exploring Biodiversity in Kerala

Location:
  • Situated in Idukki District, Kerala.
  • Falls within the rain shadow region of the Western Ghats, experiencing minimal annual rainfall.
  • Bounded by Eravikulam National Park to the south and Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary to the north.
Vegetation:
  • Diverse habitat types, including deciduous forests, dry thorn scrub, riparian forest, shoals, and grasslands.
  • Features an extensive sandalwood forest in close proximity.
Flora:
  • Boasts approximately 1000 species of flowering plants, including a rich variety of medicinal plants.
  • Prominent plant species: Acacia arabica, Acacia leucofolia, Acacia concinna, antallum album, Anogeissus latifolia, Rhododendron nilagiricum, Elaeocarpus, and more.
Fauna:
  • Home to the endangered Great Grizzled Squirrel of India.
  • Diverse mammalian species, including elephants, tigers, leopards, gaur, sambar, spotted deer, Nilgiri Tahr, and others.
Significance:
  • The sanctuary’s strategic location within the Western Ghats contributes to its unique ecological features.
  • Rich biodiversity, including endangered species, emphasizes the need for conservation efforts.
  • Offers a diverse range of habitats, making it an ecological hotspot in the region.

-Source: The Hindu


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