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From "Otter Survival Found"

Lutra mascolicollii  found for the first time in GB

Mario Schuhmann from the River Zoo Farm in Guinea Bissau had rescued the small otter on 18th April 2003. It had been found nearly dead trapped in a net and had been taken to him for care. He hardly believed it would live but was thrilled the next morning to find that it had not only survived the night but was looking fit and alert.

Not only this, but he was certain it was not a species of Lutrao or Aonyx as Mario was familiar with the two species of otter in Guinea Bissau. This was news in itself as when he contacted the IUCN Otter Specialist Group representative in Africa, Professor Jan Nel, he stated that only the Cape Clawless otter occurred in this country. As this animal had very definite claws it clearly wasn't that! Jan Nel also said that the description, especially the white chest from the neck down, would suggest a Spotted Necked Otter.

Meanwhile our contacts in Guinea - Bissau where convinced it was a new species. The otter, a young female, was the smallest adult otter they had ever seen. ISOF recommended that the only true way to solve the puzzle was to do some DNA work on it.

Hairs were taken and analysed by the institute of Zoo and Wildlife Rehabilitation in Berlin, using the roots of the hair. The results showed clearly that this otter is after all a Spotted Necked (Lutra maculicollis). But this is still an interesting find as it is now the northernmost known occurrence of this species of otter. It has been recorded in Sierra Leone but is very rare there, and is also rare in Liberia.

For further info on this species please visit. http://www.otter.org/Spotted.html

River Zoo Farm • P.O. Box 890 Bissau • Rep. Guinea-Bissau • Satellite Phone: 00870-76162-7460 • Satellite Fax: 00870-76162-7461 • river_zoofarm@gmx.de

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