IUCN Otter Specialist Group . . . leading global otter conservation Last Update: Tuesday August 9, 2011
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Logo of the Otter Specialist GroupWHAT IS THE OTTER SPECIALIST GROUP?

  • The IUCN/SSC Otter Specialist Group is the world wide network of specialists on otters and their conservation needs.
  • OSG, the Otter Specialist Group, is one of the more than 120 Specialist Groups and Tasks Forces of the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the World Conservation Union (IUCN).


  • According to the By-laws of the IUCN Species Survival Commission this Specialist Group provides
    • leadership for the conservation of all otter species (Lutrinae),
    • determines and reviews on a continuing basis the status and needs of otters,
    • and promotes the implementation of necessary research, conservation and management programmes by appropriate organizations and governments,
    • makes known the status and conservation needs of otters, and
    • promotes the wise management of otter species.
  • OSG is not an independent group or organisation. It is part of the IUCN and SSC networks and therefore integrated into the regulations and organisational structures of this global conservation union.


  • Beside the general assistance provided by the IUCN and the SSC, the main tools of the OSG to fulfil these tasks are
    • the organisation of meetings and conferences (as for instance the International Otter Colloquium),
    • the organisation of workshops and training courses,
    • the preparation of Action Plans on a global, regional or national level,
    • the initiation of research or model projects,
    • the evaluation of methodologies and the collection of best practice examples,
    • the preparation of guidelines or standards (for instance by task forces).
    • At the VIII International Otter Colloquium, held in 2001 in Valdivia, Chile, OSG members agreed on the Terms of Reference, describing the vision, goals, objectives, and targets of the work of the OSG.


  • The OSG does not have its own funds nor it is regularly funded by IUCN or SSC. All the coordinators, representatives and members are responsible for their own expenses, resulting from their OSG membership, or receive support from the institutions they are connected with.
  • This is also the reason why the OSG has no funds available to directly support research or conservation projects. The OSG might be able to support fundraising activities, but it is not able to undertake the fundraising itself for any project of a member or non-member planning to do a project related to otters.
  • Some funding organisations require a statement from the OSG as part of their decision-making process when they receive applications for the funding of otter research or conservation projects. The decision, if such an application is supported by the OSG, is based on the quality of the project design and of the priorities defined by the members of the OSG.


  • The OSG is as a world-wide network of specialists volunteering to support information exchange, to initiate activities and to improve and to standardise methods related to research and conservation of otters and their habitats.
  • All members of the OSG contribute to its work on a voluntary basis. None of those who took over a specific responsibility or function within the OSG network receives any salary.
  • OSG was established in 1974 and was chaired by
    Dr. Nicole Duplaix 1974 - 1985
    Dr. Pat Foster-Turley 1985 - 1993
    Prof. Padma de Silva 1993 - 1998
    Claus Reuther 1998 - 2005
    Dr Jim Conroy 2006 to date