POPULATION TRENDS AND STATUS OF SMOOTH-COATEDOTTERS (LUTROGALEPERSPICILLATA) IN TUNGABHADRA RIVERECOSYSTEM, KARNATAKA, INDIAR. Dhananjaya and Vijaya Kumara
In an increasingly disturbed and fragmented environment of the Tungabhadra River in Karnataka, weconducted a study to record the current status and population trends of Smooth-coated Otters. The goalwas to identify regions with a lack of information on current status, gather information to create baselinedata, and understand the otter species in this river. A total of 31 sampling stations was surveyed for twoyears from February-2018 to February-2020. The study area selected starts from Kudli, near Shivamogga inKarnataka to Kurnool of Andhra Pradesh, spread for 531/km. While surrounded by human-modifiedlandscapes, the Tungabhadra River remains a significant habitat for flora and fauna, including otter species.Significant parts of the Tungabhadra river ecosystems lie beyond the security offered by protected areas; Inthese areas where existing conditions are poorly understood; New and accurate information on otter statusand population trends are created using locally appropriate methodologies such as: documenting populationtrends, conflict incidents from local communities by questionnaire interviews and surveying for directsightings and indirect credible evidence (spraints, footprints, den sites, food remains, and carcasses) todocument the distribution of otters in the study area. The study reveals vital localities and hotspots ofsmooth-coated otters in the Tungabhadra River to promote conservation, restoration, and potential reestablishmentin their ranges.