The giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is a South American carnivorous mammal. It is the longest member of the Mustelidae, or weasel family, a globally successful group of predators, reaching up to 1.7m (5.6 ft). Unusually for a mustelid, the giant otter is a social species, with family groups typically supporting three to eight members. The groups are centered on a dominant breeding pair and are extremely cohesive and cooperative. Although generally peaceful, the species is territorial, and aggression has been observed between groups. The giant otter is diurnal, being active exclusively during daylight hours. It is the noisiest otter species, and distinct vocalizations have been documented that indicate alarm, aggressiveness, and reassurance.
The animal faces a variety of critical threats. Poaching has long been a problem. Statistics show between 1959 and 1969 Amazonian Brazil alone accounted for 1,000 to 3,000 pelts annually. The implementation of CITES in 1973 finally brought about significant hunting reductions,although demand did not disappear entirely: in the 1980s, pelt prices were as high as US$250 on the European market. The threat has been exacerbated by the otters’ relative fearlessness and tendency to approach human beings. They are extremely easy to hunt, being active through the day and highly inquisitive.The animal’s relatively late sexual maturity and complex social life makes hunting especially disastrous.
Conservation Status: Endangered
If you want the Giant Otter to be Giraffe in a Tree’s next Animal of the Week, like or reblog this post. Also, vote in the poll @giraffe-in-a-tree.