Insights into marine otter (Lontra felina) distribution along the Peru coastline

Clara Ortiz-Alvarez, Joanna Alfaro-Shigueto, Jeffrey C. Mangel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The marine otter (Lontra felina) has a patchy distribution associated with rocky coastlines along the Pacific coast of South America. In Peru marine otters are found from La Libertad (8°04′S) to Tacna (18°09′S), however, few studies have assessed its population and conservation status. To assess marine otters' current distribution along the Peru coastline, we conducted visual surveys and collected environmental characteristics such as human presence and habitat type. We surveyed 20 locations from five regions where otter presence was based on signs of detection (spraints, food leftovers, tracks, or direct observations). In addition, data on human presence, habitat type, and geographic location were also collected. Across the 20 locations, 268 sections were scanned, and marine otters were detected in 90% (n = 18) of locations and in 19% (n = 52) of sections. Spraints were the most frequent sign detected while direct observations occurred only in seven locations. Our analysis indicates habitat features play an important role in marine otter presence, with habitats with large rocks providing preferred conditions. Our study provides information on marine otter distribution along the Peru coastline that can assist in the identification of locations for focused conservation initiatives and strategies, which should be coordinated among regions to strengthen their design and implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)993-1007
Number of pages15
JournalMarine Mammal Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Lontra felina
  • Peru
  • habitat
  • marine otter
  • spraints
  • visual surveys


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