International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF)


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Smooth-coated, hairy-nosed, Asian short-clawed and Eurasian otter.

To protect otters so that future generations can enjoy one of the world’s most charming, elusive and enjoyable mammals.

Donations are used to help train otter researchers.

The illegal wildlife trade is an increasing threat to otters; they are at the forefront of the wildlife fur trade, with tigers and leopards, and there is also a large and rapidly increasing market for pet otters.  These animals are almost all taken from the wild and the mother is killed to get the cubs.  They are sold through social media or are on sale openly in wildlife markets. 
In Asia there are few scientists working on otters and their habitats, so IOSF has been providing a series of training workshops covering otter field techniques, public awareness programmes, law enforcement and general conservation issues.  Workshops have been held in Cambodia (2009), Indonesia (2013), Bangladesh (2014), China (2016) and Laos (2018).   These have been a great success and work is ongoing in communities through country networks linked together by the Asian Otter Conservation Network.

There are four species of otter in the region of Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar: 
• Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) classified in the Red List as “Near Threatened”
• Smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata), classified in the Red List as “Vulnerable”
• Asian small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus), classified in the Red List as “Vulnerable
• Hairy-nosed otter (Lutra sumatrana) classified in the Red List as “Endangered”. 
In 2022, Action for the Wild funds will be put towards the next workshop in Malaysia and will bring in people from Thailand and Myanmar to encourage cross-border collaboration. The workshop will be held in April 2022 at Kuala Selangor Nature Park, 20 km from Kuala Lumpur, where three of the otter species are found.

The workshop will train participants:
a) To work in field research to provide data on which practical conservation programmes can be based.
b) To work in education and public awareness within local communities to reduce otter/fishermen conflicts and to encourage the people to conserve otters, wetlands and all biodiversity.
c) To reduce trade in otters, both for fur and pets
To develop networks who can collaborate on future projects and work together to reduce the cross-boundary illegal trade in otters.


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