Otter population monitoring

By 15 February 2017 No Comments

Taking advantage of the great snow conditions after the latest snow fall, this Monday we mobilised our team and organised a day of otter monitoring (Lutra lutra) in the Upper Dambovita valley and Leresti valley. A total of 8 people participated in checking for tracks, faeces or other signs of otter presence, covering a total of approximately 25 kilometres of river course. Otters spend most of their time in the water hunting, so their diet is made up mostly of fish and eventually also other aquatic fauna. So, in order to find signs of otter presence one should look on the river shores for tracks or scats, the latter being left as scent posts on higher spots near the river, a form of communication. You easily recognise an otter scat by its fishy smell and the presence of fish or frog bones in it. Samples of scats were collected for a future DNA analysis.

We discovered a lot of otter tracks and scats on the river segments below Pecineagu Lake. The river segments above Pecineagu Lake also had signs of otter activity, except Vladului Valley, where no tracks were found that day, but many were seen in other monitoring sessions throughout this winter. Otters are searching for food also in the Pecineagu Lake, which was proven by tracks found in a lagoon in Hotarului Valley. We estimate a total of three families living in the Upper Dambovita Valley.