Three otter species call Cambodia home. Once upon a time, the Kingdom of Wonder, with its large expanse of wetlands and coastline, could have been a paradise for otters!
Sadly, here as elsewhere, otters are losing their homes to settlements and agriculture, while their favourite food is scooped up in nets. Sometimes, otters view these fishing nets as a free meal. But when otters raid nets, they can get into trouble with fisherfolk! Another threat otters face is conflict with humans, especially fishing communities.
The three otter species in Cambodia and their IUCN status are:
Smooth-coated otter [Vulnerable]
Hairy-nosed otter [Endangered]
Asian small-clawed otter [Vulnerable]
Of these three, sightings of Smooth-coated Otters and Hairy-nosed Otters are the most common in Cambodia.
However, the more solitary habits of the Hairy-nosed Otter makes them difficult to spot, not to mention, globally they are fewer in number! In fact, Hairy-nosed Otters are the rarest otter species in the world! What’s more, Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre is the only place in the world to have the species in captivity!