Wildlife Research and Conservation

More and more protected otters are dying on the roads

Press release ALKA Wildlife, o.p.s.

Lidéřovice May 3, 2016 - Road transport is increasingly endangering the protected Eurasian otter. Annually, around fifty animals are found and this number continues to rise. This information is used, in particular, to ensure effective planning to overcome this problem. Our new online mapping service is one step in the right direction to help solve this problem.

Stříbrná Skalice, Jelení u Bruntálu, Trstěnice u Moravského Krumlova, Slavětice, Úsilné u Českých Budějovic, Oleksovice, Třeštice, Koloděje nad Lužnicí, Obědovice - these are all villages where the river otter has only been found on the road from the beginning of 2016. Experts warn that an increase in mortality may lead to the collapse of the entire otter population in the future. Kateřina Poledníková, from ALKA Wildlife, describes the problem further:

According to our data, while the otter population is now stable, in recent years we have seen a large increase in otter mortality on the road. Moreover, taking into account the forecasts of further growth in road transport in the Czech Republic, the survival of the otter population is significantly threatened by road transport.”

Experts are aware of the problems roads cause to the otter population and are therefore undertaking an intensive inspection of selected locations and sections of roads where otters have died on the roads. This, in turn, creates a map of risk areas for otters throughout the Czech Republic. Inspections of these sites show that in 83% of them, the road or its surrounding area should be adjusted to prevent further deaths. Kateřina Poledníková explains:

Very often only a minor modification or investment is needed to support the otters in these risk areas. For example, clear an existing culvert under the road or installing a wooden footbridge or concrete walkway along the watercourse can significantly help the otter.

Kateřina Poledníková finishes by describing how ALKA Wildlife publishes the data they obtain on dead otters:

We want road administrators and the nature conservation authorities to address this issue. Therefore, we have published information on where otters are dying on the roads and where construction or other adjustments are needed. All this information can be found on our online map and we hope that better information about this problem will lead to its effective solution.”

Supported by a grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

This project has been implemented with financial support from the EEA funds 2009-2014 and the Ministry of the Environment. Its content is exclusively the responsibility of ALKA Wildlife, o.p.s. and cannot in any way be regarded as the opinion of the donor or the Ministry of the Environment.