From "Otter Survival
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
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