In search of the last otters in Kyrgyzstan
Within the framework of the project “River otter (Lutra lutra) in Kyrgyzstan: monitoring of the species population and development of measures to increase otter numbers”, supported by the UNEP GEF SGP Program, employees of the Ilbirs Foundation Public Fund and the Institute of Biology of the National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic, together with rangers of the Jamaat Bek Tosot Community Based Conservancy are searching for what may be the last remaining otters in Kyrgyzstan🔍🐾.
The research team is examining the rivers of the Kyzyl-Suu basin, recording sightings of animals and birds. In the evenings, the team checks the data obtained from the previously installed camera traps. The otter population in Kyrgyzstan is in critical condition⚠️. According to the results of summer surveys, the presence of this species was not detected. Currently, winter snow in the Chon-Alai area facilitates the detection of animal tracks.
So far, the team detected the tracks of wolves, jackals, foxes, ermine, stone martens, tolai hares, wild boars and even Ibex in floodplain habitats🦊🐐. Birds include eagle, cinereous vultures, lammergeiers, ibisbills, gray partridges, brown dippers and mallards🦆🦅.
No traces of otter presence have been found yet. The team does not give up hope and continues its work: there are several areas left to be examined where a few otter individuals could potentially be found. The story will be continued in the next post!