Otter in South America | The sea otter (Lontra felina) is also called chungungo in South America and is the only species of marten besides the sea otter that lives in the sea. Sea otters have a long, slender body and a relatively short tail compared to other otter species. With a size of about 1 m and a weight of 3 - 5 kg, it is the smallest among the New World otters. The rough fur is dark brown on the back, the belly and throat are slightly lighter in color.
Sea otters live alone or in small groups of up to 3 and do not appear to be territorial. The habitats of different males and females often overlap. Females give birth to 2 - 5 young after a gestation period of 60 - 70 days, which stay with the parents for about 10 months.
Their range extends along the coast of South America from Peru, Chile and Argentina. They prefer hunting grounds in kelp and kelp forests, where they dive up to 40 m deep and feed on fish, squid and crustaceans.
For a long time the sea otter was hunted for its fur, this led to a sharp decline in the population.
The current threats to otters are pollution of coastal waters, habitat destruction, and overfishing of prey fish. Furthermore, countless otters get caught and drown in fishing nets and crab traps.
YAQU PACHA, under the direction of Dr. Juan Valqui, is carrying out a project in Peru in collaboration with Pro Delphinus.
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