Smooth-coated otter new addition to Coimbatore’s urban biodiversity

The smooth-coated otter which was spotted at Krishnampathy tank in the city recently.  

The elusive smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) has become the new addition to the urban biodiversity of Coimbatore as a city-based doctor recently spotted a single individual of the fish hunter mammal at Krishnampathy tank during a birding trip.

A.M. Arun Vineeth from Saibaba Colony sighted a lone smooth-coated otter in the urban tankaround 6.45 a.m. on August 26.

“I am a beginner in birding. I went to the tank in the morning with camera, hoping to photograph water birds. To my surprise, an otter plunged into the tank from a dry area after sensing my presence. I could click a few photos as it lifted its head from the water and looked at me for sometime,” said Mr. Vineeth, who is currently preparing for post-graduation in medicine.

Mr. Vineeth was not very sure that an otter could be a rare sighting in an urban tank. He shared the photos with some of the nature enthusiasts and came to know that otters were not seen in the tank in recent times. They opined that the otter could have come to the tank through river Noyyal.

The Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed smooth-coated otter as ‘vulnerable’ species which has a decreasing population trend.

Degradation of their habitats is said to be the main contributor to the decline in their population.

According to J. Peter Prem Chakravarthy, biologist with the Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR), smooth-coated otter, Eurasian otter and small-clawed otter are the species of otters seen in the Western Ghats and central parts of India.

He attributed that the sighting of the otter in the urban waterbody could an indicator of abundance of food resource, mainly fish and crab.

“Smooth-coated otters are described as crepuscular which means they are more active in the evening and early morning. They could also be active at night due to which people do not seem them,” he said.

ATR is home to smooth-coated otter, Eurasian otter and small-clawed otter, he said.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 2:25:50 AM |

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