The southern river otter (Lontra provocax) is a species of otter that lives in Chile and Argentina. Although called a "river otter", it inhabits both marine and freshwater environments. It sometimes is considered a subspecies of Lontra canadensis. The southern river otter is listed as endangered, due to illegal hunting, water pollution, and habitat loss.
|Southern river otter|
|Southern river otter range|
This medium-sized otter's body can grow up to 2.5 ft (70 cm) long, with a tail adding about 16 in (40 cm). Body weight averages about 5–10 kg (11-22 lbs). Its fur is dark-brown on the top and has a lighter cinnamon color on its underside.
Although the female and her young will live in family groups, males are usually solitary. Litter sizes average one to two pups, but up to four can be born at a time. Their diets include fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and birds.
The southern river otter can be found in marine, freshwater, and terrestrial habitats, but are mostly found in freshwater lakes and rivers having a significant amount of dense vegetation, especially along the shorelines, which must be present to use as cover. Their habitats also need the root systems of mature trees, as well as fallen tree debris.
Southern river otters were vigorously hunted for their pelts throughout the last 100 years. This is the major cause of their current low population numbers and endangered conservation status. Since then, they have not been able to recover due to a number of other threats. At this point, only seven known populations of this species are found throughout Chile and Argentina, and all of the populations are isolated from each other.
The riparian forests and rivers in which these otters are mostly found have been disturbed by human presence. Dam and road construction, as well as stream canalization and drainage for agriculture destroy many acres of what could be habitat for this species. Though Argentina began passing legislation in 1960 to outlaw the hunting of the southern river otter, hunting still does occur because of the lack of enforcement. Hunting is legal and does occur in Chile.
The continual decrease in prey numbers also causes problems for the southern river otter. Some invasive aquatic species that have been introduced into that area are limiting the mollusks and fish available for otter prey. This causes the otters to move to other freshwater systems to hunt for food.
Several surveys and studies have been performed on the southern river otter to better understand its declining population numbers to be able to prevent the species from becoming extinct. Several of the known populations are found within national forests.
One survey in particular was performed to determine if any of this species live within these protected areas. The author surveyed three parks in Argentina: Lanin, Puelo, and Los Alerces National Parks. The surveyors spoke with people who live and work near these areas, and looked for prints and droppings of the southern river otter, while also looking for signs of the American mink. The mink was introduced into this area and is thought to compete with the southern river otter for food resources and habitat space. The results showed signs of the southern river otter were found in 32 of the 275 surveyed sites within the three parks. Of the 32 confirmed sites, 31 were of dense forest with thick undergrowth near the shorelines of freshwater systems. These results suggest having shoreline vegetation for cover is vital for their survival.
Future directions for conserving this species include obtaining better information on the southern river otter's population numbers and locations. If conservationists know where the individuals and families live, enforcement of antipoaching laws, as well as focusing on maintaining and protecting their habitats, will be easier. Captive breeding programs would also be beneficial for this species, to later reintroduce individuals into the areas where they were previously found in.
The Asiatic linsang (Prionodon) is a genus comprising two species native to Southeast Asia: the banded linsang (Prionodon linsang) and the spotted linsang (Prionodon pardicolor). Prionodon is considered a sister taxon of the Felidae.Catopuma
Catopuma is a genus containing two Asian small wild cat species, the bay cat (C. badia) and the Asian golden cat (C. temminckii).
Both are typically reddish brown in colour, with darker markings on the head. They inhabit forested environments in Southeast Asia. The bay cat is restricted to the island of Borneo. Originally thought to be two subspecies of the same animal, recent genetic analysis has confirmed they are, indeed, separate species.The two species diverged from one another 4.9-5.3 million years ago, long before Borneo separated from the neighboring islands. Their closest living relative is the marbled cat, from which the common ancestor of the genus Catopuma diverged around 9.4 million years ago.Ferret-badger
Ferret-badgers are the five species of the genus Melogale, which is the only genus of the monotypic mustelid subfamily Helictidinae.
Bornean ferret-badger (Melogale everetti)
Chinese ferret-badger (Melogale moschata)
Javan ferret-badger (Melogale orientalis)
Burmese ferret-badger (Melogale personata)
Vietnam ferret-badger (Melogale cucphuongensis)Galerella
Galerella is a genus of the mongoose family (Herpestidae) native to Africa and commonly called the slender mongooses.There are four or five species in this genus, with more than 30 subspecies.
Four of the species have long been established:
A recent addition is the black mongoose, Galerella nigrata, which now is considered a separate species by many scientists, following genetic analysis. It was previously seen as a variant of Galerella sanguinea.Indian brown mongoose
The Indian brown mongoose (Herpestes fuscus) looks similar to the short-tailed mongoose from Southeast Asia and is sometimes believed to be only a subspecies of this latter. The Indian brown mongoose is found in southwest India and Sri Lanka.Lontra
Lontra is a genus of otters from the Americas.Lutrogale
Lutrogale is a genus of otters, with only one extant species—the smooth-coated otter.Mustelidae
The Mustelidae (; from Latin mustela, weasel) are a family of carnivorous mammals, including weasels, badgers, otters, ferrets, martens, mink, and wolverines, among others. Mustelids are diverse and the largest family in the order Carnivora, suborder Caniformia. Mustelidae comprises about 56-60 species across eight subfamilies.Mustelinae
Mustelinae is a subfamily of family Mustelidae, which includes weasels, ferrets amd minks.It was formerly defined in a paraphyletic manner to also include wolverines, martens, and many other mustelids, to the exclusion of the otters (Lutrinae).Narrow-striped mongoose
The narrow-striped mongoose (Mungotictis decemlineata) is a member of the family Eupleridae, subfamily Galidiinae and endemic to Madagascar. It inhabits the Madagascar dry deciduous forests of western and southwestern Madagascar, where it lives from sea level to about 125 m (410 ft) between the Tsiribihina and Mangoky rivers. In Malagasy it is called bokiboky (pronounced "Boo-ky Boo-ky").Neotropical otter
The neotropical otter or neotropical river otter (Lontra longicaudis) is an otter species found in Central America, South America and the island of Trinidad. It is physically similar to the northern and southern river otter, which occur directly north and south of this species' range. The length of the neotropical otter can range from 90–150 centimetres (35–59 in), of which the tail comprises about a third. Body weight ranges from 5–15 kilograms (11–33 lb). Otters are members of the family Mustelidae, the most species-rich (and therefore diverse) family in the order Carnivora.
This otter is found in many different riverine habitats, including deciduous and evergreen forests, savannas, llanos and pantanal. It prefers to live in clear fast-flowing rivers and streams. It is a relatively solitary animal and feeds mostly on fish and crustaceans.Nyctereutes
Nyctereutes is an Old World genus of the family Canidae, consisting of just one living species, the raccoon dog of East Asia. Nyctereutes appeared about 9.0 million years ago (Mya), with all but one species becoming extinct before the Pleistocene.
Native to East Asia, the raccoon dog has been intensively bred for fur in Europe and especially in Russia during the twentieth century. Specimens have escaped or have been introduced to increase production and formed populations in Eastern Europe. It is currently expanding rapidly in the rest of Europe, where its presence is undesirable because it is considered to be a harmful and invasive species.Otter
Otters are carnivorous mammals in the subfamily Lutrinae. The 13 extant otter species are all semiaquatic, aquatic or marine, with diets based on fish and invertebrates. Lutrinae is a branch of the weasel family Mustelidae, which also includes badgers, honey badgers, martens, minks, polecats, and wolverines.Paradoxurinae
The Paradoxurinae are a subfamily of the viverrids that was denominated and first described by John Edward Gray in 1864.Pocock subordinated the oriental genera Paradoxurus, Paguma and Arctictis to this subfamily.Paradoxurus
Paradoxurus is a genus within the viverrid family that was denominated and first described by Frédéric Cuvier in 1822. As of 2005, this genus was defined as comprising three species native to Southeast Asia:
the Asian palm civet (P. hermaphroditus)
the golden palm civet (P. zeylonensis)
the brown palm civet (P. jerdoni)In 2009, it was proposed to also include the golden wet-zone palm civet (P. aureus), the Sri Lankan brown palm civet (P. montanus) and the golden dry-zone palm civet (P. stenocephalus), which are endemic to Sri Lanka.Pusa
Pusa is a genus of the earless seals, within the family Phocidae. The three species of this genus were split from the genus Phoca, and some sources still give Phoca as an acceptable synonym for Pusa.
The three species in this genus are found in Arctic and subarctic regions, as well as around the Caspian Sea. This includes these countries and regions: Russia, Scandinavia, Britain, Greenland, Canada, the United States, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Japan. Due to changing local environmental conditions, the ringed seals found in the Canadian region has varied patterns of growth. The northern Canadian ringed seals grow slowly to a larger size, while the southern seals grow quickly to a smaller size.
Only the Caspian seal is endangered.Queulat National Park
Queulat National Park is a national park of Chile located in the Aysén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo Region. The park is bordered by the Cisnes River on the south side and is neighbor to Lago Rosselot National Reserve. It contains 1,541 km2 (595 sq mi) of glacier-capped mountains and virgin evergreen forests.
Extant Carnivora species