Habitat use and spatial behaviour of the endangered Southern river otter (Lontra provocax) in riparian habitats of Chile: Conservation implications

Maximiliano A. Sepúlveda, José Luis Bartheld, René Monsalve, Vicente Gómez, Gonzalo Medina-Vogel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The spatial behaviour of 10 Southern river otters Lontra provocax was analysed using radio-tracking data collected in the Queule River, Southern Chile. The estimated otter density was 0.25 individuals km-1. Females with cubs and adult otters displaying mating behaviours were the only social group recorded. Studied otters were solitary and observed behaviour patterns suggest an intrasexual territoriality. No home range overlap among males existed while an average of 33% and 87% home range overlapped among females and between sexes, respectively. In the situation of core areas, only one case of overlapping between an adult male and an adult female was observed. Average home range and core area lengths were 11.3 km and 0.9 km, respectively. Otters used rivers more frequently than expected, whereas they avoided small streams. Low intensity livestock farming, without canalization of watercourses and riparian vegetation extraction practices, seems compatible with the presence of Southern river otter populations since the spatial behaviour of the studied otters was not affected under these circumstances. Based on the present official reserve sizes and distribution within the country, and also the increase of variant anthropogenic land uses outside these areas that result with consequent habitat loss and deterioration, we strongly recommend considering the importance of spatial dimension in quantity and quality habitats in further conservation planning for the Southern river otter using an integrated catchment management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-338
Number of pages10
JournalBiological Conservation
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2007


  • Home range
  • Lontra provocax
  • Radiotracking
  • Ranging behaviour
  • Territoriality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


Dive into the research topics of 'Habitat use and spatial behaviour of the endangered Southern river otter (Lontra provocax) in riparian habitats of Chile: Conservation implications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this