Two held with 'near threatened' Eurasian otter's hide

KATHMANDU: Police said two persons have been arrested in possession of Eurasian otter from Kalimati of KMC-12.

The mammal (scientific name Lutra lutra) is considered to be Near Threatened species due to sharp fall in its population and has been included in the IUCN's Red List.

Eurasian otter features in the Appendix I of CITES and one of the most endangered among CITES-listed animals. CITES prohibits trade of its body parts.

A special police team deployed from the Central Investigation Bureau arrested 54-year-old Khadak Bahadur Acharya and 26-year-old Bishnu Tamang of Sunakhani VDC Dolakha district yesterday.

The duo have been sent to the Kathmandu District Forest Office for further investigation and action.

According to the IUCN, the Eurasian otter is found in the Himalayan river systems in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar and eastwards throughout Southeast Asia to Japan where it believed to be extinct.

The mammal predominantly preys on fish. Also, it eats aquatic insects, reptiles, amphibians, birds, small mammals, and crustaceans.

According to studies, hill otter (Lutra lutra) is recorded in West Seti River, Lake Rara, Lake Rupa and Lake Begnas.

Likewise, smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perscipillata) has been reported in the major river basins including Koshi, Narayani, Karnali and Mahakali, while oriental small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinerea) has been mentioned in scientific literature as present in Nepal in the 19th century.