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Giant Otter

Giant Otter
Giant Otter[1]

Conservation status

Endangered (IUCN 3.1)[2] Scientific classification Kingdom: Phylum: Class: Order: Family: Subfamily: Genus: Species: Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Mustelidae Lutrinae Pteronura P. brasiliensis

Binomial name Pteronura brasiliensis
(Gmelin, 1788)

aggression has been observed between groups. The Giant Otter is diurnal, being active exclusively during daylight hours. It is the noisiest otter species and distinct vocalizations have been documented that indicate alarm, aggressiveness, and reassurance. The Giant Otter ranges across north-central South America. Its distribution has been greatly reduced and is now discontinuous. Decades of poaching for its velvety pelt, peaking in the 1950s and 1960s, hugely diminished population numbers. The species was listed as endangered in 1999 and population estimates are typically below 5,000 in the wild. The Guianas are the last real stronghold for the species. It is the most endangered mammal in the neo-tropics. Habitat degradation and loss is the greatest current threat. The Giant Otter is also rare in captivity: as of 2003, only 60 animals were held.[3] The Giant Otter shows a variety of adaptations suitable to an amphibious lifestyle, including exceptionally dense fur, a wing-like tail, and webbed feet. The species prefers freshwater rivers and streams, which are usually seasonally flooded, and may also take to freshwater lakes and springs. It constructs extensive campsites close to feeding areas, clearing large amounts of vegetation. The Giant Otter largely subsists on a diet of fish, particularly characins and catfish, and may also eat crabs. It has no serious natural predators other than humans, although it must compete with other species, including the Neotropical Otter and caiman species, for food resources.

The Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is a South American carnivorous mammal. It is the longest member of the Mustelidae, or weasel family, a globally successful group of predators. Unusually for a mustelid, the Giant Otter is a social species, with family groups typically supporting three to eight members. The groups are centered on a dominant breeding pair and are extremely cohesive and cooperative. Although generally peaceful, the species is territorial and

Naming
The Giant Otter has a handful of other names in English. River Wolf (Spanish: Lobo del Río) and Water Dog (Spanish: Perro del Agua) are used occasionally. The last of these may have been more common in the reports of explorers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.[4] All three names are in use in Spanish and Portuguese, with a number of regional variations. "Giant Otter" translates as Nutria Gigante and Lontra Gigante in

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Spanish and Portuguese, respectively; a fourth name, Ariraí or Ariranha is also in use in South America.[5] Among the Achuar people, they are known as Wankanim,[6] and among the Sanumá as Hadami.[7][8] The genus name, Pteronura, is derived from the Ancient Greek words pteron/πτερον ’feather’ or ’wing’ and ura/ουρά ’tail’,[9] a reference to its distinctive wing-like tail.[10]

Giant Otter
Nicole Duplaix calls the division of "doubtful value."[13] An extinct genus, Satherium, is believed to be ancestral to the present species, having migrated to the New World during the Pliocene or early Pleistocene.[10] The Giant Otter shares the South American continent with three of the four members of the Lontra genus of otters: the Neotropical River Otter, the Southern River Otter, and the Marine Otter.[14] It seems to have evolved independently of Lontra in South America, despite the overlap. The Smooth-coated Otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) of Asia may be its closest extant relative: similar behaviour, vocalizations, and skull morphology have been noted.[10] Both species also show strong pair bonding and paternal engagement in rearing cubs.[15] Phylogenetic analysis by Koepfli and Wayne in 1998 found that the Giant Otter has the highest divergence sequences within the otter subfamily, forming a distinct clade that split away 10 to 14 million years ago. They noted that the species may be the basal divergence among the otters or fall outside of them altogether, having split even before other mustelids, such as the Ermine, Polecat, and Mink.[10] Later gene sequencing research on the mustelids, from 2005, places the divergence of the Giant Otter somewhat later, between 5 and 11 million years ago; the corresponding phylogenetic tree locates the Lontra divergence first amongst otter genera, and Pteronura second, although divergence ranges overlap.[16]

Taxonomy and evolution

Giant Otter head from the Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi research institute The otters form the Lutrinae subfamily within the mustelids and the Giant Otter is the only member of the genus Pteronura. Two subspecies are currently recognized by the canonical Mammal Species of the World, P. b. brasiliensis and P. b. paraguensis. Incorrect descriptions of the species have led to multiple synonyms (the latter subspecies is often P. b. paranensis in the literature).[1] P. b. brasiliensis is distributed across the north of the Giant Otter range, including the Orinoco, Amazon, and Guianas river systems; to the south, P. b. paraguensis has been suggested in Paraguay, Uruguay, southern Brazil, and northern Argentina,[5] although it may be extinct in the last three of these four. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) considers the species’ presence in Argentina and Uruguay uncertain.[2] In the former, investigation has shown thinly distributed population remnants.[11] P. b. paraguensis is supposedly smaller and more gregarious, with different dentition and skull morphology. Carter and Rosas, however, rejected the subspecific division in 1997, noting that the classification had only been validated once, in 1968, and that the P. b. paraguensis type specimen was very similar to P. b. brasiliensis.[12] Biologist

Biology and behaviour
The Giant Otter is large, gregarious, and diurnal (active through the day). Early travellers’ reports describe noisy groups surrounding explorers’ boats but little scientific information was available on the species until Duplaix’s groundbreaking work in the late 1970s.[17] Concern over this endangered species has since generated a corpus of research.

Physical characteristics
The Giant Otter is clearly distinguished from other otters by morphological and behavioural characteristics. It has the greatest body length of any species in the mustelid family, although the Sea Otter may be heavier. Males are between 1.5 and 1.8 meters

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(4.9–5.9 feet) in length and females between 1.5 and 1.7 m (4.9–5.6 ft). The animal’s wellmuscled tail can account for as much as 69 centimeters (27 in) of total body length.[18] Early reports of skins and living animals suggested exceptionally large males of up to 2.4 m (7.9 ft); intensive hunting likely reduced the occurrence of such massive specimens. Weights are between 32 and 45.3 kilograms (70–100 pounds) for males and 22 and 26 kg (48–57 lbs) for females.[19] The Giant Otter has the shortest fur of all otter species; it is typically chocolate brown but may be reddish or fawn, and appears nearly black when wet.[19] The fur is extremely dense, so much so that water cannot penetrate to the skin.[20] Guard hairs trap water and keep the inner fur dry; the guard hairs are approximately 8 millimeters (one third of an inch) in length, about twice as long as the fur of the inner coat.[21] Its velvety feel makes the animal highly sought after by fur traders and has contributed to its decline.[22] Unique markings of white or cream fur color the throat and under the chin, allowing individuals to be identified from birth.[19] Giant Otter muzzles are short and sloping and give the head a ball-shaped appearance.[13] The ears are small and rounded.[20] The nose (or rhinarium) is completely covered in fur, with only the two slit-like nostrils visible. The Giant Otter’s highly sensitive whiskers (vibrissae) allow the animal to track changes in water pressure and currents, which aids in detecting prey.[23] The legs are short and stubby and end in large webbed feet tipped with sharp claws. Well suited for an aquatic life, it can close its ears and nose while underwater.[24] As of Carter and Rosas’ writing, vision had not been directly studied but field observations show that the animal primarily hunts by sight; above water, it is able to recognize observers at great distances. The fact that it is exclusively active during the day further suggests its eyesight should be strong, to aid in hunting and predator avoidance. In other otter species vision is generally normal or slightly myopic, both on land and in water. The Giant Otter’s hearing is acute and its sense of smell excellent.[25][19]

Giant Otter

Vocalizations
The Giant Otter is an especially noisy animal, with a complex repertoire of vocalizations. All otters produce vocalizations, but by frequency and volume, the Giant Otter may be the most vocal.[26] Duplaix identified nine distinct sounds, with further subdivisions possible, depending on context. Quick HAH! barks or explosive snorts suggest immediate interest and possible danger. A wavering scream may be used in bluff charges against intruders, while a low growl is used for aggressive warning. Hums and coos are more reassuring within the group. Whistles may be used as advance warning of non-hostile intent between groups, although evidence is limited. Newborn cubs squeak to elicit attention, while older young whine and wail when they begin to participate in group activities.[27]

Social structure
The Giant Otter is a highly social animal and lives in extended family groups. Group sizes are anywhere from two to twenty members but likely average between three and eight.[5] (Larger figures may reflect two or three family groups temporarily feeding together.)[28] The groups are strongly cohesive: the otters sleep, play, travel, and feed together.

Giant Otters leave a pool together at the Philadelphia Zoo. The species is extremely social, a rarity amongst mustelids, and family groups are cohesive. Group members share roles, structured around the dominant breeding pair. The species is territorial, with groups marking their ranges with latrines, gland secretions, and vocalizations.[29] At least one case of a

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change in alpha relationship has been reported, with a new male taking over the role; the mechanics of the transition were not determined.[30] Duplaix suggests a division between residents, who are established within groups and territories, and nomadic and solitary transients; the categories do not seem rigid, and both may be a normal part of the Giant Otter life cycle.[31] One tentative theory for the development of sociality in mustelids is that locally abundant but unpredictably dispersed prey causes groups to form.[32] Aggression within the species ("intraspecific" conflict) has been documented. Defense against intruding animals appears to be cooperative: while adult males typically lead in aggressive encounters, cases of alpha females guarding groups have been reported.[30] One fight was directly observed in the Brazilian Pantanal in which three animals violently engaged a single individual near a range boundary.[29] In another instance in Brazil, a carcass was found with clear indications of violent assault by other otters, including bites to the snout and genitals, an attack pattern similar to that exhibited by captive animals.[33] While not rare amongst large predators in general, intraspecific aggression is uncommon amongst otter species; Ribas and Mourão suggest a correlation to the animal’s sociability, which is also rare amongst other otters.[29] A capacity for aggressive behaviour should not be overstated with the Giant Otter. Researchers emphasize that even between groups, conflict avoidance is generally adopted.[34][35] Within groups, the animals are extremely peaceful and cooperative. Group hierarchies are not rigid and the animals easily share roles.[36]

Giant Otter
days, giving birth to one to five pups, with an average of two.[38][37] Research over five years on a breeding pair at the Cali Zoo in Colombia found that the average interval between litters was six to seven months, but as short as 77 days when the previous litter did not survive.[3] Other sources have found greater intervals, with as long as 21 to 33 months suggested for the wild.[37]

Captive Giant Otters have provided much of the research on the species’ reproduction and life cycle Mothers give birth to furred and blind cubs in an underground den near to the river shore and fishing sites.[39] Males actively participate in rearing cubs and family cohesion is strong;[40] older, juvenile siblings also participate in rearing, although in the weeks immediately after birth they may temporarily leave the group.[37] Cubs open their eyes in their fourth week, begin walking in their fifth, and are able to swim confidently between 12 and 14 weeks.[3] They are weaned by nine months and begin hunting successfully soon after.[37] The animal reaches sexual maturity at about two years of age and both male and female cubs leave the group permanently after two to three years.[38][37] They then search for new territory to begin a family of their own.[41] The Giant Otter is very sensitive to human activity when rearing its young. No institution, for example, has successfully raised Giant Otter cubs unless parents were provided

Reproduction and life cycle
Details of Giant Otter reproduction and life cycle are scarce, and captive animals have provided much of the information. Females appear to give birth year round, although in the wild births may peak during the dry season. The estrous cycle is 21 days, with females receptive to sexual advances between 3 and 10 days.[37] Study of captive specimens has found that only males initiate copulation.[3] At Tierpark Hagenbeck in Germany, long-term pair bonding and individualized mate selection were seen, with copulation most frequently taking place in water.[38] Females have a gestation period of 65 to 70

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sufficient privacy measures; the stress caused by human visual and acoustic interference can lead to neglect, abuse and infanticide, as well as decreased lactation. In the wild, it has been suggested, although not systematically confirmed, that tourists cause similar stresses: disrupted lactation and denning, reduced hunting, and habitat abandonment are all risks.[41] This sensitivity is matched by a strong protectiveness towards the young. All group members may aggressively charge intruders, including boats with humans in them.[42] The longest documented Giant Otter lifespan in the wild is eight years. In captivity this may increase to 17, with an unconfirmed record of 19. The animal is susceptible to a variety of diseases, including the canine parvovirus. Parasites, such as the larvae of flies and a variety of intestinal worms, also afflict the Giant Otter.[41] Other causes of death include accidents, gastroenteritis, infanticide, and epileptic seizures.[37]

Giant Otter
also sedentary, generally swimming only short distances, which may aid the Giant Otter in predation. The Giant Otter seems to be opportunistic, taking whatever species are most locally abundant.[44] If fish are unavailable it will also take crabs, snakes, and even small caimans and anacondas.[45] The species can hunt singly, in pairs, and in groups, relying on its sharp eyesight to locate prey.[46] In some cases, supposed cooperative hunting may be incidental, a result of group members fishing individually in close proximity; truly coordinated hunting may only occur where the prey cannot be taken by a single Giant Otter, such as with anacondas and the Black Caiman.[35] The Giant Otter seems to prefer prey fish that are generally immobile on river bottoms in clear water. Prey chase is rapid and tumultuous, with lunges and twists through the shallows and few missed targets. The otter can attack from both above and below, swiveling at the last instant to clamp the prey in its jaws. Giant Otters catch their own food and consume it immediately; they grasp the fish firmly between the forepaws and begin eating noisily at the head.[46] Carter and Rosas have found that captive adult animals consume around 10% of their body weight daily—about 3 kilograms (7 lb), in keeping with findings in the wild.[47]

Hunting and diet

Ecology
Habitat
A captive Giant Otter, feeding. This predator grasps prey in its forepaws and begins eating immediately, at the head. The Giant Otter is an apex predator and its population status reflects the overall health of riverine ecosystems.[43] It feeds mainly on fish, including cichlids, characins (such as piranha), catfish, and perch. One full year study of Giant Otter scats in Amazonian Brazil found fish present in all fecal samples. Fish from the order Perciformes, particularly cichlids, were seen in 97% of scats, and Characiformes, such as characins, in 86%. Fish remains were of medium-sized species that seem to prefer relatively shallow water, to the advantage of the probably visually oriented Giant Otter. Prey species found were The species is amphibious, although primarily terrestrial.[48] It is found in freshwater rivers and streams, which are generally seasonally flooded. Other water habitats include freshwater springs and permanent freshwater lakes.[2] Four specific vegetation types were found on one important creek in Suriname: riverbank high forest; floodable mixed marsh and high swamp forest; floodable low marsh forest; and grass islands and floating meadows within open areas of the creek itself.[48] Duplaix identifies two critical factors in habitat selection: food abundance, which appears to positively correlate to shallow water, and low sloping banks with good cover and easy access to preferred water types. The Giant Otter seems to choose clear black waters with rocky or sandy bottoms over silty, saline, and white waters.[49]

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Areas adjacent to rivers are used for the construction dens, campsites, and latrines.[50] Giant Otters clear significant amounts of vegetation in constructing their campsites. One report suggests maximum areas 28 m (92 ft) long and 15 m (49 ft) wide, well-marked by scent glands, urine, and feces to signal territory.[14] Carter and Rosas find average areas a third this size. Communal latrines are adopted adjacent to the campsites, and dens with a handful of entrances are dug, typically under root systems or fallen trees. One report found between three and eight campsites, clustered around feeding areas. In seasonally flooded areas, the Giant Otter may abandon campsites during the wet season, dispersing to flooded forests in search of prey.[51] Preferred locations may be adopted perennially, often on high ground. These can become quite extensive, including "backdoor" exits into forests and swamps, away from the water.[48] Not every site is visited or marked daily, but all are usually patrolled, often by a pair of otters in the morning.[52] Research generally takes place in the dry season and an understanding of the species’ overall habitat use remains partial. Dry season range size analysis of three otter groups in Ecuador found areas between 0.45 and 2.79 square kilometres (0.17 and 1.08 sq mi). Habitat requirements and availability were presumed to be dramatically different in the rainy season: range sizes of 1.98 to as much as 19.55 square kilometres (0.76 to 7.55 sq mi) were estimated for the groups.[50] Other researchers suggest approximately 7 square kilometres (2.7 sq mi) and note a strong inverse correlation between sociality and home range size; the highly social Giant Otter has smaller home range sizes than would be expected for a species of its mass.[32] Population densities varied with a high of 1.2 /km2 (3.1 /sq mi) reported in Suriname and with a low of 0.154 /km2 (0.40 /sq mi) found in Guyana.[5]

Giant Otter

Characins such as piranha species are prey for the Giant Otter, but these aggressive fish may also pose a danger. Duplaix speculates that piranhas may attack Giant Otters. and other large predators,[41] although adults are constantly mindful of stray young. The Spectacled Caiman is another potential competitor, but Duplaix found no conflict with the species in Suriname. When in the water, the Giant Otter faces danger from animals that are not strictly preying upon it: the Electric eel and stingrays are potentially deadly if stumbled upon, and piranha may be capable of at least taking bites out of a Giant Otter, as evidenced by scarring on individuals.[54] Even if without direct predation, the Giant Otter must still compete with other predators for food resources. Duplaix documented interaction with the Neotropical Otter.[55] While the two species are sympatric (with overlapping ranges) during certain seasons, there appeared to be no serious conflict. The smaller Neotropical Otter is far more shy, less noisy, and less social; at about a third the weight of the Giant Otter, it is more vulnerable to predation and, hence, a lack of conspicuousness is to its advantage. The Neotropical Otter is active during twilight and darkness, reducing the likelihood of conflict with the diurnal Giant Otter.[56] Its smaller prey, different denning habits, and different preferred water types also reduce interaction.[47] Other species that prey upon similar food resources include the caimans and large fish that are themselves piscivores. Gymnotids, such as the Electric Eel, and the large Silurid catfish are among aquatic competitors. Two river dolphins, the Tucuxi and Boto, might potentially compete with the Giant Otter but

Predation and competition
Adult Giant Otters have no serious natural enemies, beyond human beings. "Possible and occasional" predation by the Jaguar, Cougar, and anacondas has been suggested by Duplaix, but based on historical reports, not direct observation.[53] Cubs are more vulnerable, and may be taken by the Black Caiman

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different spatial use and dietary preferences suggest minimal overlap.[47]

Giant Otter
and other chemicals are magnified at each step in the food chain, and can poison top predators like the Giant Otter. Other threats to the Giant Otter include conflict with fishermen, who often view the species as a nuisance (see below). Eco-tourism also presents challenges: while it raises money and awareness for the animals, by its nature it also increases human effect on the species, both through associated development and direct disturbance in the field.[59] A number of restrictions on land use and human intrusion are required to properly maintain wild populations. Schenck et al., who undertook extensive fieldwork in Peru in the 1990s, suggest specific "no-go" zones where the species is most frequently observed, offset by observation towers and platforms to allow viewing. Limits on the number of tourists at any one time, fishing prohibitions, and a minimum safe distance of 50 metres (164 ft) are proposed to offer further protection.[62]

Conservation status
The IUCN listed the Giant Otter as "endangered" in 1999; it had been considered "vulnerable" under all previous listings from 1982 when sufficient data had first become available. It is regulated internationally under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): all trade in specimens and parts is illegal.[57]

Threats
The animal faces a variety of critical threats. Poaching has long been a problem. Statistics show that between 1959 and 1969 Amazonian Brazil alone accounted for 1,000 to 3,000 pelts annually. The species was so thoroughly decimated that the number dropped to just 12 in 1971. The implementation of CITES in 1973 finally brought about significant hunting reductions,[5] although demand did not disappear entirely: in the 1980s, pelt prices were as high as 250USD on the European market. The threat has been exacerbated by the otters’ relative fearlessness and tendency to approach human beings. They are extremely easy to hunt, being active through the day and highly inquisitive.[58] The animal’s relatively late sexual maturity and complex social life makes hunting especially disastrous.[5] More recently, habitat destruction and degradation has become the principal danger and a further reduction of 50% is expected in Giant Otter numbers within the 20 years from 2004 (about the span of three generations of Giant Otters).[2] Typically, loggers first move into rainforest, clearing the vegetation along riverbanks. Farmers follow, creating depleted soil and disrupted habitats. As human activity expands, Giant Otter home ranges become increasingly isolated. Subadults leaving in search of new territory find it impossible to set up family groups.[59] Specific threats from human industry include unsustainable mahogany logging in parts of the Giant Otter range,[58] and concentrations of mercury in its diet of fish, a by-product of gold mining.[60][61] Water pollution from mining, fossil fuel extraction, and agriculture is a serious danger: concentrations of pesticides

Distribution and population
The Giant Otter has lost as much as 80% of its South American range.[58] While still present in a number of north-central countries, Giant Otter populations are under considerable stress. The IUCN lists Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela as current range countries.[2] Given local extinctions, the species’ range has become discontinuous.[5] Total population numbers are difficult to estimate. An IUCN study in 2006 suggested 1,000 to 5,000 otters remain.[2] Populations in Bolivia were once widespread but the country became a "black spot" on distribution maps after poaching between the 1940s and 1970s; a relatively healthy but still small population of 350 was estimated in the country in 2002.[28] The species has likely been extirpated from southern Brazil, but in the west of the country decreased hunting pressure in the critical Pantanal may have led to recolonization; an estimate suggests 1,000 animals in the region.[63][58] As of 2006, most of this species lives in the Brazilian Amazon and its bordering areas.[2] Suriname, still has significant forest cover and an extensive system of protected areas, much of which protect the Giant Otter.[64] Duplaix returned to the country in 2000 and found the Giant Otter still present

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Giant Otter
animal are a threat: the otters are often viewed as a nuisance that interferes with fishing, and are sometimes killed. Even when told of the importance of the species to ecosystems and the danger of extinction, interviewees showed little interest in continuing to coexist with the species. Schoolchildren, however, had a more positive impression of the animal.[69] In Suriname, the Giant Otter is not a traditional prey species for human hunters, which affords some protection.[65] (One researcher has suggested that the Giant Otter is hunted only in desperation due to its horrible taste.)[59] The animal sometimes drowns in nets set across rivers and machete attacks by fishermen have been noted, according to Duplaix, but "tolerance is the rule" in Suriname.[70] One difference in behaviour was seen in the country in 2002: the normally inquisitive Giant Otters showed "active avoidance behavior with visible panic" when boats appeared. Logging, hunting, and cub seizure may have led groups to be far more wary of human activity.[48] Local people sometimes take cubs for the exotic pet trade or as pets for themselves, but the animal rapidly grows to become unmanageable.[59] Duplaix relates the story of an Arawak Indian who took two cubs from its parents. While revealing of the affection held for the animal, the seizure was a profound blow to the breeding pair, which went on to lose their territory to competitors.[70] Diane McTurk manages Giant Otter rehabilitation work with rescued and orphaned Giant Otter cubs at Karanambo Ranch in Guyana.[71] The species has also appeared in the folklore of the region. It plays an important role in the mythology of the Achuar people, where Giant Otters are seen as a form of the Tsunki, or water spirits: they are a sort of "water people" who feed on fish. They appear in a fish poisoning legend where they assist a man who has wasted his sexual energy, creating the anacondas of the world from his distressed and extended genitals.[6] The Bororo have a legend on the origin of tobacco smoking: those who used the leaf improperly by swallowing it were punished by being transformed into Giant Otters; the Bororo also associate the Giant Otter with fish and with fire.[72] A Ticuna legend has it that the Giant Otter exchanged places with the Jaguar: the story says Jaguar formerly lived in the water and the Giant Otter came to the

The Guianas are the last real stronghold of the Giant Otter. Suriname retains extensive forest cover and many protected areas. It is pictured above. Guyana is immediately to the left and French Guiana immediately to the right. on the Kaburi Creek, a "jewel" of biodiversity, although increased human presence and land use suggests that, sooner or later, the species may not be able to find suitable habitat for campsites.[65] In a report for World Wildlife Fund in 2002, Duplaix was emphatic about the importance of Suriname and the other Guianas:[48] “ The three Guianas remain the last stronghold of Giant otters in South America, with pristine Giant otter habitat on some rivers and good Giant otter densities overall—still, but for how long? The survival of the Giant otter populations in the Guianas is essential to the survival of this endangered species in South America. ”

Other countries have taken a lead in designating protected areas in South America. In 2004, Peru created one of the largest conservation areas in the world, Alto Purús National Park, with an area similar in size to Belgium. The park harbors many endangered plants and animals, including the Giant Otter, and holds the world record for mammal diversity.[66][67] Bolivia designated wetlands larger than the size of Switzerland as a freshwater protected area in 2001; these are also home to the Giant Otter.[68]

Interactions with indigenous peoples
Throughout its range, the Giant Otter interacts with indigenous groups, who often practice traditional hunting and fishing. A study of five indigenous communities in Colombia suggests that native attitudes toward the

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land only to eat.[73] The indigenous Kichwa peoples from Amazonian Peru believed in a world of water where Yaku runa reigned as mother of the water and was charged with caring for fish and animals. Giant Otters served as Yaku runa’s canoes.[74]

Giant Otter
otters (Carnivora: Mustelidae) based on mitochondrial cytochrome b sequences" (abstract). Journal of Zoology 246 (4): 401–416. doi:10.1111/ j.1469-7998.1998.tb00172.x. http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/ abs/10.1111/ j.1469-7998.1998.tb00172.x. Retrieved on 2007-12-29. [11] Chehebar, C. (February 1991). "Searching for the Giant Otter in Northeastern Argentina". IUCN Otter Specialist Group 6 (1): 17–18. http://www.otterspecialistgroup.org/ Bulletin/Volume6/Chehebar_1991.html. Retrieved on 2007-11-06. [12] Carter and Rosas, pg. 4. [13] ^ Duplaix, pg. 511. [14] ^ Foster-Turley, Pat; Macdonald, Sheila; Mason, Chris (eds.) (1990). "Otters: An Action Plan for their Conservation". IUCN/SSC Otter Specialist Group (International Conservation Union): Sections 2 and 12. http://www.iucn.org/ dbtw-wpd/html/Otter/cover.html. Retrieved on 2007-11-21. [15] Duplaix, pg. 614. [16] Marmi, Josep; Lopez-Giraldez, Juan F.; Domingo-Roura, Xavier (November 2004). "Phylogeny, evolutionary history and taxonomy of the Mustelidae based on sequences of the cytochrome b gene and a complex repetitive flanking region". Zoologica Scripta 33 (6): 481–499. doi:10.1111/ j.0300-3256.2004.00165.x. [17] Duplaix, pg. 497. [18] "Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis)". The Nature Conservancy. http://www.nature.org/animals/ mammals/animals/giantotter.html. Retrieved on 2008-01-25. [19] ^ Carter and Rosas, pg. 2. [20] ^ "Giant Otter". Meet Our Animals. Philadelphia Zoo. http://www2.philadelphiazoo.org/zoo/ Meet-Our-Animals/Mammals/Carnivores/ Giant-River-Otter.htm. Retrieved on 2007-11-06. [21] "Otters: Physical characteristics". Anheuser-Busch Adventure Parks. http://www.seaworld.org/animal-info/ info-books/otters/physicalcharacteristics.htm. Retrieved on 2007-11-06.

Notes
[1] ^ Wozencraft, W. C. (16 November 2005). Wilson, D. E., and Reeder, D. M. (eds). ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd edition ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 605. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. http://www.bucknell.edu/ msw3. [2] ^ Duplaix, N., Waldemarin, H.F., Groenedijk, J., Munis, M., Valesco, M. & Botello, J.C. (2008). Pteronura brasiliensis. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2008. Retrieved on 06 March 2009. Database entry includes justification for why this species is endangered [3] ^ Londono, G. Corredor; Munoz, N. Tigreros (2006). "Reproduction, behaviour and biology of the Giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) at Cali Zoo". International Zoo Yearbook 40: 360–371. doi:10.1111/ j.1748-1090.2006.00360.x. [4] See e.g., Duplaix, pg. 547. [5] ^ "Pteronura brasiliensis (giant otter)". Carnivores. Food and agricultural organization of the United Nations. http://www.fao.org/docrep/t0750e/ t0750e0i.htm. Retrieved on 2007-11-07. [6] ^ Descola, Philippe (1994). In the Society of Nature: A Native Ecology in Amazonia. Cambridge University Press. pp. 280–282. ISBN 0521411033. [7] Ramos, Alcida Rita (1995). Sanuma Memories: Yanomami Ethnography in Times of Crisis. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 219. ISBN 0299146545. [8] Antrapológica (Sociedad de Ciencias Naturales La Salle (Fundación La Salle de Ciencias Naturales)) 55–58: 107. 1981–1982. [9] Liddell, Henry George and Robert Scott (1980). A Greek-English Lexicon (Abridged Edition). United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-910207-4. [10] ^ Koepfli, K.-P; Wayne, R.K. (December 1998). "Phylogenetic relationships of

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[22] "Giant Otter Facts". Meet Our Animals. Earth’s Endangered Creatures. http://www.earthsendangered.com/ profile.asp?ID=11&sp=311. Retrieved on 2007-11-07. [23] "Giant Otter". World Wildlife Fund. http://www.panda.org/news_facts/ education/best_place_species/ current_top_10/giant_otter.cfm. Retrieved on 2008-01-19. [24] "Giant Otter, the "Water Dog"". Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development. http://www.iwokrama.org/ forest/animals/giantotter.htm. Retrieved on 2007-11-07. [25] Duplaix, pg. 533. [26] "Otters: A SeaWorld Education Department Publication" (PDF). Seaworld. 2005. http://www.seaworld.org/Animal-info/ info-books/otters/pdf/ib-otters.pdf. Retrieved on 2008-01-23. [27] Duplaix, pp. 552–561. [28] ^ van Damme, Paul; Wallace, Rob; et al. (October 2002). "Distribution and Population Status of the Giant Otter Pteronura brasiliensis in Bolivia". IUCN Otter Specialist Group 19 (2): 87–96. http://www.otterspecialistgroup.org/ Bulletin/Volume19/ Van_Damme_et_al_2002.html. Retrieved on 2007-11-05. [29] ^ Ribas, Carolina; Mourão, Guilherme (January 2005). "Intraspecific Agonism between Giant Otter Groups". IUCN Otter Specialist Group Bulletin 21 (2): 89–93. http://iucnosg.org/Bulletin/ Volume21/Ribas_Mourao_2004.html. Retrieved on 2007-11-07. [30] ^ Evangelista, Emanuela (July 2004). "Change Of Partners In A Giant Otter Alpha Couple". IUCN Otter Specialist Group Bulletin 21 (1): 47–51. http://www.otterspecialistgroup.org/ Bulletin/Volume21/ Evangelista_2004.html. Retrieved on 2007-11-07. [31] Duplaix, pp. 571–572. [32] ^ Johnson, Dominic D.P.; MacDonald, David W.; Dickman, Amy J. (2000). "An analysis and review of the sociobiology of the Mustelidae" (PDF). Mammal review 30 (3&4): 171–196. doi:10.1046/ j.1365-2907.2000.00066.x. http://www.princeton.edu/~dominic/

Giant Otter

2000%20-%20Johnson%20et%20al.%20-%20Mustelid Retrieved on 2007-11-07. See figure three for home range size estimate. [33] Rosas, F.C.W.; De Mattos, G.E. (October 2003). "Natural Deaths Of Giant Otters (Pteronura Brasiliensis) In Balbina Hydroelectric Lake, Amazonas, Brazil". IUCN Otter Specialist Group Bulletin 20 (2): 62–64. http://www.otterspecialistgroup.org/ Bulletin/Volume20/ Weber_Rosas_de_Mattos_2003.html. Retrieved on 2007-11-07. [34] Duplaix, pg. 563. [35] ^ Carter and Rosas, pg. 15. [36] Schenck, C.; Staib, E. (April 1992). "Giant Otters In Peru". IUCN Otter Specialist Group 7: 24–26. http://www.otterspecialistgroup.org/ Bulletin/Volume7/ Schenk_Staib_1992.html. Retrieved on 2008-01-22. [37] ^ Carter and Rosas, pg. 18. [38] ^ Hagenbeck, Carl; Wunnemann, Claus (1992). "Breeding the Giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) at Carl Hagenbecks Tierpark". International Zoo Yearbook 32: 240–245. [39] Duplaix, pg. 567. [40] Duplaix, pg. 576 [41] ^ Sykes-Gatz, Sheila (2005). International Giant Otter Studbook Husbandry and Management Information and Guidelines (Second ed.). Germany: Zoologischer Garten Dortmund. p. 13. [42] Duplaix, pp. 564–565, 570. [43] Barnett, Adrian; Shapley, Rebecca; Lehman, Shawn; et al. (October 2000). "Records of the Giant Otter, Pteronura brasiliensis, from Guyana". IUCN Otter Specialist Group 17 (2): 65–74. [44] Fernando, Rosas; Zuanon, Jansen; et al. (September 1999). "Feeding Ecology of the Giant Otter, Pteronura brasiliensis". Biotropica 31 (3): 502–506. doi:10.1111/ j.1744-7429.1999.tb00393.x. [45] "Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis)". International Otter Survival Fund. http://www.otter.org/otterframes.html. Retrieved on 2007-11-21. [46] ^ Duplaix, pg. 544–546 [47] ^ Carter and Rosas, pg. 17. [48] ^ Duplaix, Nicole (2002) (PDF). Guianas Rapid River Bio-assessments and Giant Otter Conservation Project. World Wildlife Fund.

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Giant Otter

http://www.giantotterresearch.com/ 511–514. http://md1.csa.com/partners/ articles/ viewrecord.php?requester=gs&collection=ENV&rec WWF_Giant_Otter_Report_PDFMini.pdf. Retrieved on 2007-11-09. [49] Duplaix, pp.514–515 [62] Schenck, Christof; Jessica, Groenendijk; [50] ^ Utreras, V.; Suárez, E.; Zapata-Ríos, et al. (April 1999). "Giant Otter Project G.; et al. (July/December 2005). "Dry and In Peru: Field Trip And Activity Report, Rainy Season Estimations of Giant Otter, 1998". IUCN Otter Specialist Group 16 Pteronura brasiliensis, Home-Range in (1): 33–43. the Yasuní National Park, Ecuador" http://www.otterspecialistgroup.org/ (PDF). The Latin American Journal of Bulletin/Volume16/ Aquatic Mammals 4 (2): 1–4. Schenck_et_al_1999.html. Retrieved on http://www.giantotterresearch.com/ 2008-01-22. articles/lajamareasdevidadenutriasgi.pdf. [63] Carter and Rosas, pg. 8. Retrieved on 2007-11-07. [64] "Natural Heritage in Suriname". [51] Carter and Rosas, pg. 13. Suriname Natcom. UNESCO. [52] Duplaix, pg. 69. http://www.unesco-suriname.org/ [53] Duplaix, pp. 523, 529. natural%20heritage%20in%20suriname.htm. [54] Duplaix, pp. 529–530. Retrieved on 2007-01-21. [55] Lontra longicaudis. In Duplaix (1980) it [65] ^ Duplaix, Nicole; Lingaard, Marchal; et was listed as the Guiana Otter under the al. (2001). "A Survey of Kaburi Creek, older binomial Lutra enudris. West Suriname, and its Conservation [56] Duplaix, pp. 527–529. Implications". 2DocStock Photography. [57] "Appendices I, II and III". Convention on http://www.2docstock.com/Suriname/ International Trade in Endangered Reports/Kaburi%20Report/ Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Contents.html. Retrieved on 2008-01-22. http://www.cites.org/eng/app/ [66] (Spanish) "Perú creará inmensa reserva appendices.shtml. Retrieved on amazónica". BBC Mundo. 2005-04-01. 2008-01-22. http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/spanish/science/ [58] ^ Ridgley, Heidi (Winter 2007). "The newsid_4399000/4399507.stm. Retrieved Wolf of the River" (PDF). Defenders on 2008-01-07. Magazine. Defenders of Wildlife. [67] "The Alto Purús Conservation Project". http://www.giantotterresearch.com/ Round River Conservation Studies. articles/ http://www.roundriver.org/Peru.html. GO_article_Defenders_of_Wildlife_Winter_2007.pdf. Retrieved on 2008-01-25. Retrieved on 2007-11-09. [68] The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands [59] ^ Wright, Lesley. "Threats to the Giant (2001-09-18). WWF welcomes Latin Otter". Otterjoy.com. America’s largest freshwater protected http://www.otterjoy.com/otterinfo/ area. Press release. pteronura/brasiliensis/ http://www.ramsar.org/wn/ brasiliensis_threats.html. Retrieved on w.n.bolivia_wwf3.htm. Retrieved on 2008-01-25. 2008-01-27. [60] Fonseca, Fabrizio R.D.; Malm, Olaf; [69] (Spanish) Velasco, Diana Marcela (2005). Waldemarin, Helen F. (2005). "Mercury "Estudio preliminar sobre el estado de levels in tissues of Giant otters conservación de la nutria gigante (Pteronura brasiliensis) from the Rio (Pteronura brasiliensis) en la zona de Negro, Pantanal, Brazil" (PDF). influencia de Inírida (Bajo río Inírida) Guainía, Colombia" (PDF). Giant Otter Environmental Research 98: 368–371. Research. Retrieved on 2008-01-27. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2004.11.008. [70] ^ Duplaix, pp. 529–530 http://www.giantotterresearch.com/ [71] "Mission: Giant Otters". National articles/Articleariranhas.pdf. Retrieved Geographic Channel. on 2007-11-09. http://www.nationalgeographic.co.in/ [61] Gutleb, A.C.; Schenck, C; Staib, E watch/ (December 1997). "Giant otter program_details.aspx?id_program=3257. (Pteronura brasiliensis) at risk? Total Retrieved on 2008-01-25. mercury and methylmercury levels in fish and otter scats, Peru". Ambio 26 (8):

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[72] Lévi-Strauss, Claude (1983). The Raw and the Cooked. trans. John Weightman and Doreen Weightman. University of Chicago Press. pp. 104–108. ISBN 0226474879. [73] Landolt, Gredna (2005). El ojo que cuenta: Mitos y costumbres de la Amazonía indígena ilustrados. International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs. p. 81. ISBN 9972264009. [74] (Spanish) Ching, César (October 2006). PER-I38: El mundo del agua temido y poco conocido. BioDiversity Reporting Award. Semanario Kanatari, Iquitos, Iquitos. Retrieved on 2008-01-27.

Giant Otter
• Duplaix, Nicole (1980). "Observations on the ecology and behavior of the giant river otter Pteronura brasiliensis in Suriname". Revue d’Ecologie (Terre Vie) 34: 495–620.

External links
• ARKive – images and movies of the giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) • Duplaix, Nicole (2002) (PDF). Guianas Rapid River Bio-assessments and Giant Otter Conservation Project. World Wildlife Fund. http://www.giantotterresearch.com/ articles/ WWF_Giant_Otter_Report_PDFMini.pdf. Includes excellent photography. • Duplaix, Nicole; Groenendijk, Jessica; et al.. "Giant Otter Bibliography". 2DocStock Photography. http://www.2docstock.com/ Suriname/Reports/Bibliography/ bibliography.html. Retrieved on 2008-01-27. A very complete bibliography on giant otters.

References
• Carter, S.K.; Rosas, F.C.W. (1997). "Biology and conservation of Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis)" (PDF). Mammal review 27 (1): 1–26. doi:10.1111/ j.1365-2907.1997.tb00370.x. http://www.giantotterresearch.com/ articles/Carter_and_Rosas_1997.pdf. Retrieved on 2007-11-06.

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