ABSTRACT: The present report reveals the findings of surveys conducted jointly by Sindh Wildlife Department (SWD), Government of Sindh and WWF Pakistan, Islamabad (WWF-P) during November-December, 2008 and February 2009 with the objectives to confirm the existence of Smooth coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillita sindica) in different areas in Sindh and to identify various threats to otter population. An area of about 5,000 km was traversed covering 36 different sites in 12 districts of Sindh province where there were reports of otter existence. The existence of otter was confirmed at 25 sites in 11 districts. Evidence like recent otter tracks, remains of fish eaten by otter, otter spraints, and holts was gathered and local residents and fishermen were interviewed to verify the existence of otter at every site. Five sites located in four different districts were identified where an otter population exists throughout the year, whereas otters visited all the other sites occasionally over different seasons, in search of food. Various threats to the species identified during the surveys included hunting for fur, habitat degradation, water pollution, weak enforcement of wildlife laws, increasing tourism and competition and conflicts between otters and fishermen. The total population of Smooth coated otter was also estimated over the 25 sites as 178.
IUCN Otter Specialist Group Bulletin. 01/2009;