© copyright 2003-2021 Study.com. One biologist has estimated the Pantanal’s giant otter population at a relatively healthy 500, but there have been no measurements of mercury levels in the otters here. She has taught high school Biology and Physics for 8 years. The current total population is estimated … There were about 474 stranded otters … The otters’ diet usually consists of trout, roach, tilapia and occasionally salmon. The giant otter or giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is a South American carnivorous mammal. Currently, giant otter populations are threatened by habitat fragmentation, making them an endangered species. They hunt alone or in groups, sometimes using coordinated efforts, and must be successful often to meet their daily intake quota. Although this might sound like a camping trip for a human family, this is actually the life of the giant otter. Create an account to start this course today. The Balbina dam created ∼3525 islands and increased the open-water surface and total reservoir perimeter available to otters by a factor of 62.7 and 8.9, respectively. Legal Protection: Legally protected. {{courseNav.course.topics.length}} chapters | Giant Otter This South American otter is the world's largest, at some 6 feet long. Giant Otter's velvet pellets have attracted hunters whose numbers have dropped significantly. They look for fish and other aquatic animals, hunting skillfully in groups. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/g/giant-otter.html. They leave the protection of their mothers at 10 – 12 months and can breed at 2 years old. Increasing populations and demand for land and natural resources are destroying the forests and rivers that the giant otters call home. It is only founded in the Gir forest and some other parts of the state of Gujrat, India. Cubs are usually born in a holt in a bank, or between rocks or tree roots. However, today the giant otter faces different challenges with humans. There are 13 species of otters, and the sea otter and giant otter live in starkly different environments—the giant otter in a warm freshwater environment and the sea otter in the frigid coastal waters of the North Pacific Ocean. One of the main reasons for the drastic decline in the otter population in the 70’s was the hunting for their pelts. Established in 1964, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has evolved to become the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species. Up until the 1970's the giant otter was hunted for pelts used to make human coats, scarves and other cold weather apparel. | {{course.flashcardSetCount}} The constant need for food requires the family to work together. Newborns are only about 12cm long but grow quickly and can swim at three months. 27 May 2020 News. You can test out of the Although giant otters don't have fins like a scuba diver or even fins like a fish, their four paws are webbed, creating a similar effect. By the end of this lesson you'll be able to describe the few places giant otters live, factors impacting their population and some interesting facts about their adaptations, lifestyle and behavior. It is found in the main rainforest block of central Africa from Nigeria to Zambia, with a few isolated populations in Kenya and Uganda.It lives in streams, wetlands and slow flowing larger rivers. The giant otter shrew (Potamogale velox) is a semiaquatic, carnivorous afrotherian mammal. It is the longest member of the weasel family, Mustelidae, a globally successful group of predators, reaching up to 1.7 metres (5.6 ft).Atypical of mustelids, the giant otter is a social species, with family groups typically supporting three to eight members. Giant Otters are native to South America and due to habitat loss, poaching, and industry, there are now fewer than 5,000 left in the wild. Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course. credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. The first evaluations of giant otter populations in these rivers, in which no individuals were sighted, were in 1992–1993. Each animal may eat six to nine pounds of food per day. All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye: Summary and Analysis, Alternative Teacher Certification in Virginia, Tech and Engineering - Questions & Answers, Health and Medicine - Questions & Answers, Working Scholars® Bringing Tuition-Free College to the Community. A family comes out of their home for an afternoon activity. Giant otters have been hunted extensively and wild populations are at-risk. Like human families, these animals mate in monogamous pairs, living with large families in a gregarious lifestyle. Around 250 years ago, the population of sea otters was thought to number between 150,000 and 300,000 individuals, but then people began to relentlessly hunt them for their fur. This study is the first comprehensive genomic analysis of otters. In 2014 an “Otter Challenge” was set up with NGOs and companies to reach a milestone of 1,000 otters in The Netherlands by 2020. Amanda holds a Masters in Science from Tufts Medical School in Cellular and Molecular Physiology. They are double the size of world’s smallest otter, the Asian short-clawed otter. Unfortunately that target was not reached – in fact the number quoted at the end of December 2020 was only 450 and this was largely because of … Fish make up most of the giant otter's diet. As humans, we rely heavily on eyesight to get around in the world. Giant otters live in lakes and slow-moving rivers in forested areas. Giant otters are mammals related to the weasel family. Enrolling in a course lets you earn progress by passing quizzes and exams. Did you know… We have over 220 college The giant otter, an endangered apex predator in Amazon river ecosystems, was nearly driven to extinction because of demand for its fur. Not sure what college you want to attend yet? The giant otter or giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is a South American carnivorous mammal. These whiskers are extremely sensitive and can detect small changes in current, allowing them to detect their prey without even seeing them. After nine or ten months, it is difficult to tell mother from child. Earn Transferable Credit & Get your Degree. Giant ottters are very sociable animals and often live in groups of up … According to the scientific resources, the total population size of European otters in Belarus is around 12, 000 individuals and in Sweden - 500-1000 individuals. 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