Otter is an important part of natural watercourses and strictly protected in Austria – nevertheless, Lower Austria is planning to kill dozens of animals. That would be an absolute scandal and should not happen! 

After its almost complete extermination in the 20th century, the population of the otter recovers slowly in the last two decades. The otter is in the Red List in Austria and has special protection through the EU’s Flora-Fauna Habitat Directive.

The otter fulfils important tasks in our nature. In many regions of Austria the population is still unfavourable and massive interventions threaten. This is certainly not acceptable,

says Christian Pichler, species protection expert at WWF Austria.

Together with many other organizations, WWF and FOUR PAWS are calling on the competent Lower Austrian regional councillor Stephan Pernkopf to withdraw the shooting plans immediately.

Otter as a scapegoat

In their intention of imminent killing of the otters the political leaders are led by the decline in fish stocks. However, the otter is certainly not the main reason of that. Rather, there are a number of factors, such as power plant constructions, flood protection measures, climatic change in temperature, non-ecological fishing measures, increase in fish diseases and water pollution, which contribute to a decline in fish stocks.

More detailed research and knowledge are needed for making proper management and humane decisions regarding otter and ecosystem they belong to. 

Says Iryna Shchoka, from European Wilderness Society

Not only from species protection, but also from animal protection side, killing of the otter should be prevented. Otter mating can take place all year round, which means that there can always be cubs at any time. If a nursing otter-mother is “taken” and no longer returns to her cubs, they are starving and miserable in their nest. It is also extremely horrible that, in the event of the hunting of otters, the hunter cannot control whether he has actually killed the animal because it fled into the water. This cannot be allowed, for example, that the stroked animal must suffer a slow, agonizing death.

Such issues exist in other areas and countries as well, therefore deep understanding of the real situation is very important, especially for inhabitants protection.

How to support  WWF petition “No to Otter Murder! ” in Austria and more information on this topic can be found: here

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Iryna Shchoka is a regional development expert and is based in Uzhhorod, Ukraine.

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