Geographical Range of the Smooth-Coated Otter

Distribution of Lutrogale perspicillata.

This is from S.A. Hussain, Mustelids, Viverrids and Herpestids of India: Species Profile and Conservation Status, 1999, IUCN (1990) and Sungai Buloh National Park.

Although the species' range appears large, distribution is actually very patchy - these are comparitively large carnivores and require a habitat supplying plenty of food. In some areas, records are out of date, and numbers are thought to have suffered a sharp decline over the last 10 years to 1999 (IUCN Red List 2000). They range from Indonesia (Java, Kalimantan) through Brunei (Darussalam), Singapore, Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak), South-West China, Cambodia, Lao Peoples Democratic Republic, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, India (Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, plains of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, in the central Indian plateau of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, in east and northeast in West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh) and Pakistan, where they are relatively plentiful, but now few of them live in the lower Indus valley as a result of barrage building.

Historically there was a subspecies in Iraq, which was supposed extinct, as it had only been known from two specimens, and there has been extensive drainage, pollution and habitat loss since its discovery. Smooth-Coated Otters were also not known from Iran at the time of the IUCN Otter Action Plan in 1990. However, Ziaie & Gutleb (1997) suggest that since this species is fairly common in Pakistan, it should be present in adjacent parts of southeastern Iran, though these animals will probably be of the Lutrogale perspicillata sindica subspecies. The same authors report that in 1972, smooth-coated otter furs were harvested along the border with the Iraqi wetlands where the Iraqi subspecies, Lutrogale perspicillata maxwelli, were known to exist in the 1950s, so possibly Maxwell's Otter still exists somewhere in the area - if not in the heavily altered areas of Iraq it used to inhabit, then in the contiguous parts of Iran.

Smooth-Coated Otter