Programmes

Otters of China

 

Eurasian Otter Lutra lutra
Order: Carnivora
Family: Mustelidae
IUCN Red List: Near Threatened
CITES: Appendix I
State Key Protected Animal List of China: Class II

Distinctive features and distribution: 
Medium in size among the three otter species;
Widely distributed in China.
 
 
 
 
 


 

Asian Small-clawed Otter Aonyx cinereus
Order: Carnivora 
Family: Mustelidae
IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
CITES: Appendix II
State Key Protected Animal List of China: Class II

Distinctive features and distribution: 
The world's smallest otter species; Restrict to the tropical snd subtropical regions of China.

 

 

 

Smooth-coated Otter Lutrogale perspicillata
Order: Carnivora 
Family: Mustelidae
IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
CITES: Appendix II
State Key Protected Animal List of China: Class II

Distinctive features and distribution: 
The Asia's largest otter species; No confirmed recent distribution record of the speices in China.

 

 

 

About the Species

Three species of otters are known from China: Eurasian Otter (Lutra lutra), Asian Small-clawed Otter (Aonyx cinereus) and Smooth-coated Otter (Lutrogale perspicillata). They once occurred throughout the country, however, due to excessive hunting for their furs and as traditional medicine, otter populations have dramatically declined, with many local extinctions reported as early as the 1980s. Although all 3 otter species are Class II National Key Protected Species in China since 1989, there has been little conservation attention. On the contrary, their counterparts in western countries have long been popular subjects for research and conservation.

Conservation Actions

Since 2012, Kadoorie Conservation China Department, has been systematically studying otters across China. In 2016, we obtained the first photographs of wild Asian Small-clawed Otter for China at a remote stream in Yunnan’s Yingjiang, and discovered a population of Eurasian Otter in a busy delta of Guangdong Province. In 2017, we established the nation’s first otter monitoring team in Diaoluoshan, Hainan Province with the aim to monitor and protect the dwindling population of Asian Small-clawed Otter. In 2019, we partner with the IUCN Species Survival Commission Otter Specialist Group and Sichuan Tangjiahe National Nature Reserve to convene the 14th International Otter Congress, hoping to raise the awareness of otter conservation in China.

  

Read more:

1. Kinmen Island of Taiwan – Wonderland for Eurasian Otters

2. A general introduction of the three otter species in China

3. World Otter Day 2018

4. Study shows that China’s otters are in dramatic decline

5. Why are otters being overlooked in China?