Questions and Answers: In-Depth Responses
We recently photo-trapped this otter species in Cambodia, which we believe to be L. perspicillata. Can anyone please confirm this identification.
The photo was taken in the Central Cardamom Protected Forest in the Cardamom Mountains of southwest Cambodia, about 50km from the Thailand border. The area is a highland marsh at an altitude of about 560m. In the wet season the marshland area floods about 1000ha, although during the dry season the wet area may cover about 50ha or so, with reeds, sedges and melaleuca present.
This area is used by the local villagers for lowland rice cultivation and is surrounded by hill evergreen forest. About 200ha of this marsh has been designated as a crocodile sanctuary (with assistance from our project - the FFI Cambodian Crocodile Conservation Programme) to protect what is probably the most globally significant area for the critically endangered Siamese crocodile, Crocodylus siamensis.
The photo of the otter was taken as part of a camera trapping project to identify crocodiles in the marsh. We only recorded 3 separate photos of single otters (although the other 2 photos are very very poor images). Incidentally the majority of photos recorded were of domestic buffalo. We have now removed all cameras as the water levels are rising, but hope to set up cameras again in November after the water levels have dropped again.
Boyd Simpson , 10 April 2007
Response from Nicole Duplaix and Budsabong Kanchanasaka
We believe this could well be a Hairy-Nosed Otter, Lutra sumatrana. We base this on the dark coat and prominant white lip, plus the flattened skull. It is definitely not Lutrogale perspicillata, which has a pronounced dome to the skull. This is a new sighting of a rare animal in an area where little distribution information is available.
See Long, B. (2000) The Hairy-Nosed Otter (Lutra sumatrana) in Cambodia. IUCN Otter Spec. Group Bull. 17(2): 91
Response provided 08 May 2007