FEWER THAN 5,000 INDIVIDUALS REMAINING IN THE WILD …
Devastated by poaching for their velvety pelt and habitat degradation in their native South America, Giant Otters have been reduced to fewer than 5,000 in the wild.
Native to South America the Giant Otter is the longest member of the Mustelidae (weasel) family, growing up to a rather giant length of 5.6ft. Like many other mustelids, Giant Otters are a very social species often supporting three to eight members in typical family groups.
Giant Otters typically live in and along the Amazon River. Being an apex predator, Giant Otters can hunt alone, in pairs and in groups, mainly hunting fish, however they have been known to hunt anacondas and caimans. Yorkshire Wildlife Park is home to Mora and Alexandra, two female Giant Otters from Duisburg Zoo in Germany.
A HUMAN PROBLEM
Affected by: Habitat Loss, Poaching & Industry
While in the past, poaching for pelts was the giant otters gravest threat, they are now most threatened by increase human settlement and activity throughout the species range.
The result of this is the modification and destruction of the otter’s habitat, over-fishing, contamination of aquatic ecosystems, domestic animal diseases, and mismanaged tourism
WHAT WE’RE DOING!
GIANT OTTERS IN CANTAO
The Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation is an active supporter of a key project in remote areas of South America to preserve the Giant Otter threatened by deforestation, commercial fisheries, and increased industrialization across the Amazon Basin. YWPF funds a scheme to improve management and conservation of the Cantão ecosystem, carrying out local field surveys in the 90,000 hectare Cantão State Park, in Brazil, which is home to 700 species of birds and 300 species of fish. The project will improve awareness of the Giant Otters and the need for conservation, and will create local jobs as 30 oxbow lakes and river channels will be constantly monitored and other areas surveyed.
Working in association with Yorkshire Wildlife Park, YWPF are working to raise awareness for the endangered giant otter at the the park. The new otter reserve at Yorkshire Wildlife Park will help visitors understand the species and their fight for survival.
In September 2019 the reserve’s work was threatened by the forest fires across the Amazon, but concerted efforts saved the Instituto Araguaia’s work.