Status of the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) in Switzerland

Christof Angst, Irene Weinberger


Between the late 19th and early 20th century, the Eurasian otter had been persecuted in Switzerland as a nuisance animal. Federal funding was provided in order to eradicate the species. Additionally, habitat alterations and  environmental pollutants played an important role in the decline of the species throughout the 20th century. The last signs of otter presence were found in 1989, after which Switzerland was devoid of wild otters until 2009 when an otter was detected by an automatic camera in a fish pass. Since then, several individuals have been observed in different regions of Switzerland. In two areas, otters have already reproduced successfully. The federal office for nature protection has launched a national working group to coordinate ongoing initiatives concerning otters between different stakeholders.

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Journal of Mountain Ecology
The Journal of Mountain Ecology is an OPEN ACCESS peer reviewed journal published by the Gran Paradiso National Park.