Smooth-coated Otter Study
The east coastal plain of Andhra Pradesh in South India is home to highly fertile deltas
of the Godavari and Krishna rivers flowing through the Eastern Ghats hill ranges and
draining into the Bay of Bengal. The Smooth-coated Otter is distributed throughout India
from Himalayas southwards and has been reported from the states of Karnataka,
Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra, Gujarat, Punjab, Himachal
Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Mizoram (Prater, 1971; Hussain and
Choudhary, 1988; Hussain, 1993; Foster-Turley and Santiapillai, 1990).
The Krishna River originates from Mahabaleshwar in the Western Ghats at height of
approximately 1337 meters above mean sea level and flows 1400 kilometres eastwards
to meet Bay of Bengal in Andhra Pradesh. At the river mouth, tropical mangrove forests
are spread out over 250 Square kilometres forming a major portion of the Krishna
Wildlife Sanctuary in Central Andhra Pradesh. There are also huge tracts of mangroves
outside this sanctuary as well as native riparian habitats along the Krishna River where
we have recently spotted smooth-coated otter packs.
There have been no surveys in the region till date. Some of the negative
interactions between local fishing community and otters lead to redundant killings.
Therefore, the current situation beckons for immediate interventions from conservation
community to assess the conservation status of otters in the region.