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First Systematic Survey for Otter (Lutra lutra) in Ladakh, Indian Trans Himalayas


We report the findings of the first survey for Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) from the Upper Indus River and several of its tributaries in Leh and Kargil Districts, India. The survey was conducted between 25th August to 30th October, 2015. We report the distribution of otter sign, including camera trap images, scats, tracks, and latrines, and the habitat characteristics along 50 km of riverbank. We observed indirect sign of otter presence on two of the four rivers surveyed, but otter abundance appears to be low in the area. Human disturbance, including proximity to settlements, grazing livestock, and particularly feral dogs, appears to deter otter presence.

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