Orphaned Otter pups rescued from Kaziranga

GUWAHATI: Three smooth-coated otter pups, rescued from the floods at the Kaziranga National Park last week, are currently being hand-reared at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC).

The pups – all males and yet to open their eyes – were found floating on hyacinth leaves by local people at Mahpora, Dagaon from the fringes of the national park on Friday.

“The locals found the pups while they were fishing. They handed over the pups to the Forest department staff, who called us to collect them as they could not locate the mother or their den,” Dr Anjan Talukdar, veterinarian of the International Fund for Animal Welfare-Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI), said.

The pups are being bottle-fed and looked after by the CWRC veterinarians and animal-keepers.

This is the first instance of the species being admitted to the CWRC, a rehabilitation facility run by the Assam Forest Department and the IFAW-WTI. Earlier in 2009, one adult otter was rescued and released by an IFAW-WTI team at the Manas Tiger Reserve.

“Since we started working at the CWRC more than a decade ago, this is the first instance of otters being rescued in central Assam (despite Kaziranga being a wetland teeming with otters),” said Dr Ashraf, senior director, WTI.

“Otters are aquatic and thus floods generally do not have any impact on them and, secondly, conflict with humans is negligible or practically absent since otters cannot coexist in areas where human activities are dominant. A few hundred years ago, all major and minor perennial streams, rivers and beels in Assam were occupied by otters.” The WTI had earlier supported a rapid action project (RAP) at the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary in Bihar to hand-raise a pup rescued from poachers. The pup was successfully hand-reared and rehabilitated in the sanctuary by a team of the TM Bhagalpur University.

“The rehabilitation method to be followed is like the IFAW-WTI’s ‘walk the bear’ or elephant reintegration programmes. Only in this case, the foster mother will have to ‘swim the otters’ at the release site for a certain period of time with supplementary fish,” Dr Ashraf added.


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Posted by on September 14, 2013. Filed under Assam,Breaking News,Wildlife. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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