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Evidence of shotgun wounded otters in Sweden (Lutra lutra). Erik O. Ågren1,2, Caroline Bröjer1 and Anna Roos2 1Department of Pathology and Wildlife Diseases, National Veterinary Institute, Uppsala, Sweden. 2Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, Sweden. Corresponding author (email: erik.agren@sva.se) Introduction An incidental finding of shotgun pellets embedded in the lumbar area of a road-killed otter (Lutra lutra) prompted a three-year x-ray screening of all otters submitted to the National Veterinary Institute (SVA) for necropsy. The aim was to document the frequency of gunshot wounds, indicating illegal hunting of this protected species. Methods Radiographs were systematically taken of all otter carcasses found dead in Sweden and sent for necropsy at SVA, between 2012 and 2014. Results The study found that three of 120 examined otters (2.5%) had embedded shotgun pellets. All three otters with pellets had died of other causes than shotgun wounds; two road-kills and one by drowning in fishing gear. Discussion The prevalence of otters with embedded shotgun pellets in this study in Sweden is lower compared to a Danish study of 144 otters collected 1993-2011, where the prevalence was 6.9%. Otters are usually not x-rayed and besides the three otters in the present study, several shotgun pellets were found incidentally in the right hind leg of one juvenile otter sent directly to the Swedish Museum of Natural History in 2014. In another otter, a bullet from an air rifle was found behind the eye of a road-killed otter in 2013. This otter was not x-rayed and the finding of the embedded bullet was incidental. The number of otters actually killed by gunshot trauma is unknown, but can probably be estimated to be at least as high as the number of gunshot wounded otters that survive, but are later killed of other causes. This study shows that otters are occasionally shot at, possibly due to mistaking otters for non-native American mink (Neovison vison). To minimize accidental otter shootings, information directed to hunter associations and the hunting community can be made, especially as the otter population increases throughout the country and may appear in areas where previously only mink were sighted Return




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The Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) in Sweden: distribution, trend and threatsMia Bisther11Brandt & Gröndahl AB, Pinneberget 32 , 451 78 Fiskebäckskil email: mia.bisther@bog.seIn Sweden otters have increased in both numbers and distribution since the mid 1990s. In the national red list (2015) otters have been downgraded from Endangered to Near Threatened. With the increase of the otter population the national action plan adopted in 2005-2010 has not been renewed. The only range wide systematic survey was conducted during this time period. Since then data used to update otter distribution derive from regional surveys. Seven counties run otter surveys in 2014. The results show a more widespread distribution of otters, were otters are found in most rivers. Still there are slow reestablishments of otters in the southwest parts of the country. Despite the positive current trend otters in Sweden are still threatened by pollutants, traffic, traps and fishing gears. Various pollutants (e.g. PCB, PBDE and PFOS) are regularly analyzed on dead otters from different part of the country. These otters showed extremely high concentrations of PFOS. To reduce road collisions risk, in 2014 the Swedish Road Administration built 81 fauna passages all over the country. Main concerns for conservation of otters in Sweden are high concentrations of water pollutants, the increase of otters killed by traffic or in fishing gear (which is negative), and insufficient government funds to monitor otters in the future at the national scale.Return 350c69d7ab


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