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  • P-ISSN2765-2203
  • E-ISSN2765-2211

Current Status of Korean Otter and Their Conservation

Proceedings of the National Institute of Ecology of the Republic of Korea, (P)2765-2203; (E)2765-2211
2022, v.3 no.1, pp.1-6
https://doi.org/10.22920/PNIE.2022.3.1.1
Seung Woo Han (Institute for Sustainable Development, Seoul National University)
Sung Yong Han (Korean Otter Research Center)
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Abstract

Among the 13 species of otters in the world, only one Eurasian otter (Lutra lutr) is found in South Korea. In the Korean Peninsula, otter pelts were historically valuable and expensive commodities used for international trade, and otters have long been poached as hunting animals. Recent rapid economic development in South Korea has increased habitat fragmentation and loss, creating a continuing threat to the natural environment. Otters live only in the area of rivers and streams as a family group and are territorial (linear habitat). Due to these limited conditions of otter habitat, the population size of otter is lower than that of onshore mammals. According to recent research, DNA analyses using microsatellite markers have shown that only approximately 7-21 otter individuals inhabit river systems for a length of 50-230 km. Korea's urban streams are associated with many threats that hinder otters from inhabiting them. Many areas around the urban streams are surrounded by high concrete riverbanks, and the risk of roadkill is also high. Nevertheless, ecological restoration projects in the urban rivers will contribute greatly to the stable inhabitation of otters. Detailed otter conservation strategies, such as the elimination of threat factors, improvement of habitat environment, and restoration of food resources and shelter, will provide a positive restoration effect on otter and river ecosystems as well.

keywords
Conservation Eurasian otter Korean otter Lutra lutra Republic of Korea
Submission Date
2021-11-29
Revised Date
2021-12-08
Accepted Date
2021-12-09

Proceedings of the National Institute of Ecology of the Republic of Korea