A3 Otter mortality research
Dead otters are a valuable resource for population studies and there is great value in collecting carcases for post-mortem studies. Since 2008 ALKA Wildlife coordinates otter mortality research in the Czech Republic. About 50 carcasses are recorded yearly; each of which is subject to detailed investigations. Autopsies are undertaken in a standard manner according to the methodology recommended by the IUCN Otter Specialist Group (Simpson 2007, 2011). The investigated factors are: cause of death, animal age (according to body size, condition, cranial sutures, incremental teeth lines), animal sex, reproduction status, condition, macroscopic check of all body organs, biometry, stomach content, parasitology (analysed by the Czech University of Life Sciences) and mercury content (analysed by University of Pardubice). Further specific analyses (gas chromatography for presence of poison, x-ray examination) are performed in cases where illegal killing is suspected.
Collection and analyses of otter carcasses in the Czech Republic
(pdf; 7.5 MB; in the Czech language)