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From the IUCN Otter Spec. Group Bull. 14/2 (1997)


New Comments on Otters in Iran


ZIAIE Hooshang 1, GUTLEB Bernhard 2

1) Department of the Environment, POB 5181, 15875 Tehran, I.R. Iran

2) Institute for Wildlife Research an Nature Protection, POB 1, A 9545 Radenthein, Austria



For a lot of mammal species like otters the present status in Iran is fairly unknown (FOSTER-TURLEY et al., 1990). In 1996 a comment on the otters in Iran were published (GUTLEB et al., 1996). In the same year a new field guide to the mammals in Iran was printed (ZIAIE, 1996) which gives newest data, and espacially first evidence of smooth coated otter (Lutra perspicillata) in Iran.

According to HARRINGTON (1977) and TAJBAKHSH (1995) the otter lives in most permanent rivers and lakes of Iran, but is absent from the central desert region and southern coastline. Already in 1977 it was thought, that the smooth coated otter will probably be found in southern rivers. ISHUNIN (1977) gave some regional data of otter presence in nothern and eastern Iran, and a rough updated overview was given by GUTLEB et al. in 1996. Furs harvested in the Hur-al-Azim wetland, Khuzestan at the border to Iraq in 1972 (2 furs) and 1974 (1 fur)(Fig. 1, point 1) were recently determined to derive from smooth coated otters (Lutra perspicillata)(ZIAIE, 1996). This species is known to occur in the greater iraqi part of this wetland and should be regularly present there. Because the smooth coated otter is fairly common in Pakistan he is possibly also present in the Bahoo Kalat river basin (Fig. 1, point 2) in the southeastern edge of Iran and it can not be excluded, that the otter scat found at the River Hassan Lenghi, Hormozgan in February 1997 could be from a smooth coated otter.

The eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) can be found in rivers and freshwater lakes in Zagros, Elburz and Koppe-Dagh mountain range and in Iranian Azarbaiejan (Fig. 1). Possibly he is also using the south Caspian shore and he is present in the Hamoon Wetland in the south of the border area to Afghanistan and its effluent rivers.




Foster-Turley, P., Macdonald,, S.M., Mason, C.F. 1990. Otters. An action plan for their conservation. IUCN, Gland

Gutleb, B., Rautschka, R., Gutleb, A.C. 1996. Some comments on the otter (Lutra lutra) in Iran. IUCN Otter Spec. Bull. 13(1)

Harrington, F.A. 1977. A guide to the mammals of Iran. Dep. of the Environment, Tehran. 88 pp.

Ishunin, G.I. 1977. Distribution and numbers of the Persian otter. Rare and endangered mammals and birds of the Kazakhstan, Alma Ata (in russian).

Tajbakhsh, H. 1995. Hunting in Iran - from the beginning until today. The Museum of Natural Traditions and Wildlife of Iran, Tehran. 238 pp (in farsi with some english summaries)

Ziaie, H. 1996. A Field Guide to the MAMMALS of IRAN. Dep. of the Environment, Tehran. 298 pp (in farsi)