|Date||2 Jan 2018|
Otters are carnivores belonging to the subfamily Lutrinae (family Mustelidae). Out of the 13 extant species, only the African clawless otter (Aonyx capensis) and Spotted-necked otter (Hydrictis maculicollis) are found in Ethiopia. Further, no detailed study has been conducted with these species and vital information that is required for effective conservation of these species is lacking.
This study attempts to document valuable data on diet composition and habitat characterization and to fill some of the existing knowledge gaps on their ecology. Ecological studies on the diet and habitat characterization of otter is an important aspect of their ecology and basis for conservation. Therefore, the diet, habitat use and characterization are still unknown, never studied and there is no any data on the ecology of otters in Lake Hawassa and Lake Ziway, which are Great Rift Valley Lakes of Ethiopia, and its associated wetlands, marshes and tributary rivers.
The habitats use and characterization will be studied by the analysis of their signs (tracks, spraints, holts, scent stations) in the study area distributed in all four corners of the lakes. The sampling sites will be selected close to the lakeshore and riverbanks from different habitat types in the study area. Holts will be carefully searched around the lakeshores and both sides of riverbanks, counted and photographed. Where sprainting sites will be located, spraints, presence of holt, resting sites, substrates, distance from the lake, date, season, habitat type, vegetation cover, and GPS locations will be recorded. Field surveys will be carried out in a boat or on foot along the lakeshores and riverbanks. The diet composition of otters will be studied by spraint analysis based on the identification of prey remains in the spraints, because most parts of the prey skeleton are left undigested. The result of this study will assist the establishment of mechanisms to ensure the effective conservation of otters and provide clear strategy how to conserve otters in the region.
Read about Engedasew's previous project https://www.rufford.org/projects/engedasew_andarge_ergete or for more information contact: