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Otter Conservation in Portugal: Distribution and Status of Lutra lutra in Five Protected Areas of the Country

Author(s): Anabela Trindade | Nuno Farinha | Elsa Florêncio | Mónica Sousa

Journal: IUCN Otter Specialist Group Bulletin
ISSN 1023-9030

Volume: 12;
Start page: 15;
Date: 1995;
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Keywords: otter | portugal | status | lutra

Although otter (Lutra lutra L.) populations presents a tendency towards regression in much of its european range, portugal still has a fairly stable population. Nevertheless, the exact status of the species is unknown. In this context, it is actually in course the project Otter Conservation in Portugal, insert in a national program for the Knowledge and Managment for the Natural Heritage, cofinanced by LIFE PROGRAM (EC). In this paper are presented the studies carried out in five protected areas of the country: Montesinho and Serra da Estrela Natural Parks, and Serra da Malcata, Paul do Boquilobo and Sado Estuary Natural Reserves, which included habitats as different as rivers, upland oligotrophic streams, dams, lagoons, marshes, lowland rivers and fishfarm ponds. First data concerning the distribution of the otter in that areas, the main threats observed in the areas, and some measures that can be implemented to improve the habitat conditions and the situation of the otter in some disturbed areas, are presented. The last two areas (Paul do Boquilobo and Sado Estuary) have the most acute problems for conservation, mainly due to intensive agriculture, and to domestic and industrial pollution in the freshwater and estuarine systems. The first three areas have good conditions to the existence of the species, not only in terms of habitat suitability (adequate presence of vegetation, water and preys), but also because of the relative reduced human disturbance.
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