Hairy-nosed otters (Lutra sumatrana) are the rarest and least well-known of the Asian otters. In the past, this species occurred in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Due to a lack of data, its current distribution and conservation status is uncertain. However, it is thought to be extinct in much of its former range.
This project supports hairy-nosed otter surveys in the swamplands of U Minh, Vietnam. Using line transects, night spotting, camera trapping, and surveys with local hunters, researchers have confirmed the existence of hairy-nosed otters at this location and have also found signs of Asian small-clawed otters, large-spotted civets, and fishing cats. This project will continue to collect baseline data on the distribution and abundance of hairy-nosed otters and other small carnivores. It will also assess the threats these species face using interviews with local hunters and wildlife traders, and surveys of local markets, restaurants, illegal zoos and wildlife farms. Staff champion for this project is Christine McKnight, Animal Enrichment Coordinator.