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IUCN/SCC Otter Specialist Group Bulletin
© IUCN/SCC Otter Specialist Group

Volume 15 Issue 2 Pages 68 - 127 (October 1998)

From the Chairman's Desk
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Time is running and as we look back over the past year have to realise how much time is gone since our last meeting at Trebon/CZ in March 1998. Many activities have been initiated since then. And I am happy that more and more people are not only interested in the work of OSG but also are beginning to contribute.

The listserver initiated and organised by Janice Reed-Smith has been very successful at encouraging better communication between people interested in otters. The bulletin board on the "otternet" homepage, run by Bob Fetterman, is an additional tool drawing in students and the general public. Because Philip Bacon's offer to install an OSG homepage on the server of ITE in Great Britain was not realisable, an offer from Bob Fetterman to establish this homepage via "otternet" is currently under consideration.

For the revision of the Otter Action Plan a nearly 60 pages authors instruction was written. I would like to thank Michaela Bodner, Arno Gutleb, Roland Melisch, Janice Reed-Smith and Christof Schenck for their fruitful co-operation. Unfortunately – and as expected by everyone experienced with this kind of work – the first deadlines are gone without getting the contributions the co-ordinators and authors were asked for. So far little more than a dozen country reports for Europe and some contributions to chapter 4 have arrived. I would like to thank all those who met the first deadlines. And I encourage all other authors to contribute to an efficient revision process or to inform the board of editors immediately if it becomes clear that they can not co-operate in the promised way.

Some interesting news can be reported for the European otter scene. The realisation of the project "Otter Habitat Network Europe" (OHNE) was started in October. After testing the method in a German Otter Habitat Network it is planned to do the first borders crossing steps in spring 1999. Otter specialists from the neighbouring countries will be contacted soon. A meeting of the European section of OSG is in preparation as part of the 3rd European Congress of Mammalogy to be held in Jyväskylä, Finland from May 30 to June 4, 1999. By the way, while writing this report I received the information that the Finnish authorities have decided to include the otter in the national game law. This means that beginning next year otters can be hunted in Finland again! As our Finnish colleagues report, the responsible Finnish Ministry for Forestry and Agriculture was not interested in any information on the status of the otter in Finland as offered by Finnish Environment Institute and Finnish otter specialists. Because Finland has signed the Berne Convention we will inform the Council of Europe immediately and discuss the consequences with our Finnish colleagues. Finally I want to refer to a workshop "Keeping otters = Conserving otters?" to be held at the German otter centre in February 17 - 19, 1999. I will try to transfer some of the experience collected in the 20 years I am working with otters in captivity (assisted by Alfred Melissen, the studbook keeper for Lutra lutra, and Janice Reed-Smith, the editor of the husbandry notebook for Lontra canadensis,) to people involved with or interested in keeping otters.

In conclusion, I want to express my best wishes to all of you for the year 1999. Health for you and your families and success and satisfaction for your work with, and for the otter is what I wish most to all of you for the future.

Claus Reuther
Aktion Fischotterschutz e.V.
D-29386 Hankensbüttel
Phone:    +49-5832-98080
Fax:         +49-5832-980851
e-mail: Aktion.Fischotterschutz@t-online.de

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