Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'
Otters have numerous threats along their habitat like use of pesticides in fields adjacent to streams and poison used to kill fish. Opportunistic poaching and snares meant for other animals also constitute serious threats.
It was January 2017, when I heard their barks and yelps on a fishing trip near Shivanasamudra in Karnataka. I put down the rod for the rest of the two days and watched and photographed the Smooth-coated otter dog and bitch with two pups – the parents pushing the pups to swim, and later feeding them. What a joy it was! In my heart I was so glad that their tribe was increasing in our conservation area (Wildlife Association Of South India) where we have conserved the fish, as well as feathered and four legged wildlife for over 4 decades.
But in early Feb 2018, I was heartbroken and shattered when I found one of the female pups floating in the water. Upon rowing to the spot and retrieving the dead pup, I was shocked to see a part of a snare around its neck. She had probably wandered on to land and got trapped in the snare, which might have been intended for something else. And the poacher, realizing it as non-edible, probably threw it into water. We could never find the person who set the snares, but the hunt is on. Wish us luck.