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© Photo: Thomas  L. Kelly/www.thomaslkellyphotos.com

New Research Note:  The Poorly Known Status of the Eurasian Otter Lutra lutra in Afghanistan by Stephane Ostrowski – click here for more info

Mission Statement

The mission of the Himalayan Otter Network is to foster a partnership connecting conservationists and researchers across the Himalayan region in order to strengthen the protection of otters living in the rivers and wetlands of this spectacular landscape.

Mountainous parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, China and Bhutan share similar natural environments and human lifestyles, and otters in these countries all face similar pressures from illegal trade, habitat pollution and poaching. We seek to strengthen communication among partners, facilitate collaboration, share information and best conservation practices, and create sustainable community partnerships to protect Himalayan otters.

Our vision for the future includes a safe natural landscape for otter populations, coupled with abundant and clean water resources for human communities.

Two Happy Otters
A pair of small-clawed otters cruise the shallow waters they prefer for hunting prey.
Swimming Otter
Abundant clean water means good habitat for otters and good resources for people.
The Entire Otter Family
A pile of smooth-coated otters enjoy each other’s company in Eastern Bhutan.

The Himalayan Region

The Himalayan Region has some of the most magnificent, diverse and healthy landscapes in the world. Three species of otters inhabit the abundant rivers and wetlands on the flanks of the Himalaya Mountains: the small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus), the smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) and the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra). They are all experiencing population declines in the Himalayan region.
Otters across the region face similar threats to their well-being: increasing human pressure on water resources, hydroelectric development, overfishing and illegal poaching for their pelts. However the commitment of governments in the Himalayan region to conservation and to the enforcement of laws protecting otters from illegal trade is rising. The growing number of dedicated ecologists, conservationists, and community activists in the region is also a hopeful trend.

Local knowledge is key in developing effective conservation programs for otters.
Local knowledge is key in research efforts by helping to identify areas used by otters. Local people can contribute to an understanding of otter ecology needed to build effective conservation programs.
Human communities in the Himalayas depend on rivers and lakes for clean water and the harvest of high-protein fish. In many places, the welfare of otters depends on the willingness of local people to coexist with otters.
Human communities in the Himalayas depend on rivers and lakes for clean water and the harvest of high-protein fish. The welfare of otters depends on the willingness of local people to coexist with otters.
Local community involvement in the conservation of otters is crucial. Public awareness and education programs help reduce conflicts between otters and people.
Community involvement in the conservation of otters is crucial. Public education programs help to protect otters by increasing awareness, thereby reducing conflicts between otters and people.