There has recently been a surge in the international and domestic trade of short clawed otters, threatening conservation activities, whole eco-systems and animal welfare.
Demand for otters is on the rise, and for a number of reasons!
Demand for otters, especially in places such as Japan is sky rocketing!
Although short clawed otters are the smallest species of otter and their skins are small - they are very durable and animals are frequently hunted and trapped, especially for making footwear.
Otters are directly persecuted by the prawn and crab farming industry, and many drown in fish traps.
The growth of the human population, and industrialisation of the Far East has had a major impact on the Asian short-clawed otter's habitat. Conversion of primary forest for logging, agriculture and settlement directly destroys habitat and necessary cover, but also leads to soil washing into rivers, silting up watercourses, and reducing prey. Large scale road construction has led to a rise in otter road kill. Widespread dam construction, wetland drainage and changes to rivers in attempts to control flash-flooding and for hydroelectricity has had a large effect - small watercourses dry up, and dens and bank side vegetation is destroyed during construction, being replaced with steep, high-sided banks, normally made of concrete.
In Sumatra particularly there is a lot of gravel extraction from river beds which again leads to silting of water, and renders the watercourse uninhabitable for the otters. Habitat destruction means that populations of otters are unable to reach eath other, limiting breeding potential and restricting the gene pool.