ACTA THERIOLOGICA SINICA ›› 2020, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (1): 71-80.DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150345

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Conservation status of otters in China and a discussion on restoring otter populations in the Pearl River Delta

ZHANG Lu, FAN Pengfei   

  1. (School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China)
  • Online:2020-01-30 Published:2020-01-19


张璐 范朋飞   

  1. (中山大学生命科学学院,广州 510275)
  • 通讯作者: 范朋飞 E-mail:


Apex predators play important roles in ecosystems and are therefore of great interest to researchers. As apex predators in many freshwater ecosystems, however, otters are largely disregarded in China. Three otter species – Eurasian otter, Asian small-clawed otter, and smooth-coated otter had been found in China, distributing widely across central, southeast, and northeast China, including the Pearl River Delta. All of them have experienced severe population decline and local extinction during the last century. Among the 13 extant otter species found worldwide, three species – sea otter, North American river otter, and Eurasian otter have been successfully restored through reinforcement and/or reintroduction, thus providing guidelines and suggestions for the future restoration of other otter species. Otter populations in the Pearl River Delta have also undergone dramatic declines during the last century. There are only a few remnant populations of Eurasian otter found in restricted areas of the Delta, whereas no recent records of Asian small-clawed otter or smooth-coated otter were reported. Restoring otter populations in the Delta has important ecological and social significance. We discuss related issues regarding future otter population restoration in the Pearl River Delta.

Key words: Otter, Reintroduction, Reinforcement, Pearl River Delta



关键词: 水獭, 种群重引入, 种群复壮, 珠江口