THE GIANT OTTER (Pteronura
to the verge of extinction a few decades ago
for their priceless fur these endearing
animals are now restricted to a few areas of
undisturbed waterways in Amazonia and are
strictly protected. With a population
density of 0.5 people per square kilometre (the
lowest in Peru), Madre de Dios harbours one
of the country's last viable populations of
Otters are voracious hunters, consuming up
to 4 kg of fish daily, and have no natural
enemies. They are very sociable and
generally live in groups of between 2 and 10
individuals. During the dry season (June to
November) the young are born, and during
this period they are very difficult to
observe. The young will stay with the group
for around 3 years before setting out alone
in search of their own territory and a mate.
Giant otters are seen on the lakes only
occasionally, and are a delight for those
lucky enough to spot them.
If a group is spotted try not to make any
noise or sudden movement. They are usually
very inquisitive creatures and will often
approach a canoe to within 20 or 30 metres.
Please do not pursue them!