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Loutre d'Europe, Angleterre © PlanetNoé - Pierre Vernay

Conservation programme for the European otter

The European otter is an iconic animal from the rivers of Europe and protected in France.

At the end of the 20th century, fewer than 1,000 otters remained throughout France.

The otter is threatened by the degradation of its habitat, such as the drying out of wetlands, the construction of dams and the intensive use of pesticides. It also falls victim to traffic collisions and snares.

The Parc Zoologique de Paris runs the European Endangered Species Programme for the European otter. Its twin objective is on the one hand to expand and manage the otter population in zoos, in order to preserve the species’ genetic heritage, and on the other to protect the species in its environment.

Therefore, 3 priorities have been identified to ensure the in situ conservation of otters:

  • the study of the wild European otter population in France (distribution map of individuals, health analyses)
  • the protection of the animals (establishing corridors for the otters, protecting and restoring their habitat, reducing mortality due to collisions with vehicles)
  • the raising of awareness among players (ensuring a balanced co-existence between the otter and recreational activities, providing assistance to fish farmers, informing the general public and raising their awareness)

Thanks to otter sponsorships, the Parc Zoologique de Paris experts are reducing the mortality rate among wild otters by establishing corridors so that they can move around more safely. They can therefore effectively restore and preserve the otters’ habitat and develop awareness-raising campaigns for local players.