Unraveling behavior of Asian Small-clawed Otters in Western Ghats

Project Purpose

To understand the conservation needs of the Asian Small-clawed Otter in Western Ghats by studying its behavior and adaptation.

Project Objectives

  1. To understand the micro-habitat preference of Asian Small-clawed Otter
  2. To study the impact of climate change on Asian Small-clawed Otter
  3. To study prey selection by Asian Small-clawed Otter in different landscapes

Project site background

Western Ghats is a mountain range that runs parallel to the western coast of the Indian peninsula, located entirely in India. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the eight "hottest hot-spots" of biological diversity in the world. Perennial fresh water streams flows through these mountain rages which is a home to the smallest species of otter in the world, the Asian Small-clawed Otter. Their nocturnal behavior and hilly terrains with forests makes it challenging to study the behavior of these animals in Western Ghats.

Project Overview

Asian Small-clawed Otters (Aonyx cinereus) are the smallest otters in the world. They are classified as vulnerable to extinction on the IUCN Red List. They live in forest streams where there is fresh clean water. Their habitat needs make them susceptible to climate change impacts. There are very little information available on their behaviour and adaptation in the wild across the globe. This data deficiency handicaps correct conservation actions from being taken. This study will provide insights into their behaviour and adaptation capabilities. The results will form the base to take correct conservation actions.

Conservation Value

Project findings are contributing to the understanding of behavior and adaptations of Asian Small-clawed Otter in the wild. We have made advances in understanding their capabilities to live in human dominates landscapes. As we did deeper into their behavior, we better understand their conservation needs. Accordingly we take correct conservation actions.