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Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (Kerala)

Mapping:

 

Source: TOI

 Context: A team of researchers in Kerala has identified the presence of the Eurasian Otter (Lutra lutra) in the state for the first time, specifically at Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary in Idukki.

 

About Otters:

Otters, belonging to the Mustelidae family with 13 species, inhabit every continent except Australia and Antarctica. The Eurasian otter is categorized as ‘near threatened’ on the IUCN Red List. Recognized as a flagship species, it serves as an indicator of high-quality aquatic habitats.

 

The Eurasian otter holds the broadest range in the world, but it faces persecution in countries like India, China, and Nepal, leading to a decline in populations due to hunting, habitat loss, pollution, and climate change.

This discovery adds a new member to Kerala’s mammal list, making it the third species of otter found in the state, alongside the Smooth-coated Otter and Small-clawed Otter.

 

About Chinar WLS:

AspectDetails
LocationSituated in the Idukki district of Kerala. Major rivers include Chinnar and Pambar.
ClimateRainshadow region of Western Ghats with a 6-7 month dry season in lower areas. The average rainfall is 500mm, mostly during the NE monsoon.
BiodiversityHome to 965 floral species, 29 mammal species including the endangered Grizzled Giant Squirrel, 225 bird species, 52 reptile species, and endemic fish like Deccan Mahseer.
Cultural SignificanceInhabited by the Muthuvan and Hill Pulaya tribes. Contains the largest megalithic sites in Kerala.