Otters, at the Water’s Edge [%new%]
The rapacious appetite for the Cauvery’s resources and all its associated exploitation i.e. sand mining, dynamite fishing, and hydroelectric projects, have put in peril the ecosystem’s ‘top predator’, the otter. The 200 km course of the Cauvery is perhaps one of the last strongholds for two species of otters, both categorized as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). These animals were once so extensively poached for their smooth coat, which for every tiger pelt seized, dozens of otters pelt seizures were reported. The demand for their pelt may have come down, but the otter’s position has never been more precarious. As the river’s banks and bed are exploited, the otter is fast losing the riverine islands, sandbanks and vegetation they need for feeding, basking and mating.
Certainly their status is highly threatened and we could lose much of the population if conservation efforts are not made. According to IUCN, the population of both these species has plummeted by a third worldwide in the past 30 years.
 Divya Gandhi, Otters, at the Water’s Edge, The Hindu, 8 (November 14, 2014).