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Giant Otters and Ecotourism in Peru

Author(s): Staib E. | Schenck, C.

Journal: IUCN Otter Specialist Group Bulletin
ISSN 1023-9030

Volume: 9;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 7;
Date: 1994;
Original page

Keywords: giant otter | pteronura | tourism | gold mining

Giant otters are the most endangered otters in the world, threatened by rainforest destruction, over fishing, the contamination of the water systems with mercury in areas of gold miners, illegal hunting and, possible infections with diseases of domestic animals. Numbers are so low that every otter is valuable. A new and increasing threat is tourism. Tourists find these animals very memorable and attractive, and guides lead their clients to find them. This disturbs otters, especially in places where tourist visits are irregular, and this can lead to them abandoning an area completely. We presented recommendations to mitigate this at the International Theriological Congress in Australia, 1993: the need for education of tourist guides; the prohibition of tourist groups accompanied by unlicensed guides; co­ordination among tourist agencies to stagger visits; provision of better information to tourists on conduct in the area and their likely impact on the environment; the provision of alternative attractions to relieve pressure on the lakes; limiting the number of lakes that may be visited by tourists and leaving the others undisturbed; and suggestions to improve administration and regulations.
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