BENGALURU: Shifting its focus from the big carnivores, the state forest department has devised a new management plan for conservation of otters in the state. As a part of this, mapping and survey of otter population has already begun.
This move is expected to provide a fillip to the ongoing programme to protect otters and other aquatic species in the 34-kilometre long stretch of Tungabhadra riverbed.
There has been hardly any documentation of otters done till date and the semi-aquatic and carnivorous species is threatened by the habitat loss, poaching, indiscriminate fishing and pollution.
“The smooth-coated otters have received immense protection after the declaration of Tungabhadra Otter Conservation Reserve,” says wildlife conservationist from Ballari, Santosh Martin.
“Earlier, the Bangladeshi repatriates from the nearby camp at Sindhanur used to hunt otters rampantly for their skin, which was illegally traded to China. Poaching has now come down, but lot more needs to be done to completely put a stop to otters’ hunting.”
DCF Ballari Takhat Singh Ranawat told Express the Tungabhadra riverbed near Hampi houses a healthy population of otters.
“One can easily see them lying on rocks in groups, either in early mornings or late evenings. Survey of otters has begun.” Recently, the riverbed cleaning works were carried out to spread awareness on the need to protecting the otters and other aquatic species.