What is it about?

Here we present an analysis of the genetic diversity and structure of wild Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) on Kinmen Island, off the coast of eastern-southern China, as derived from high-quality DNA samples from 40 individuals. These results may guide a framework for implementing Eurasian otter conservation programs in and around the Kinmen region.

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Why is it important?

Kinmen otters showed a moderate level of genetic diversity in microsatellite analyses but no mtDNA genetic diversity at all. Although the population of Kinmen otters seems stable in number and newborn cubs can be easily observed at present, there is no evidence that they can receive new individuals from nearby populations to increase or maintain their genetic variability, as other Eurasian otter populations seem to be unavailable around Kinmen Island in recent times. Migration events of other populations into Kinmen Island that maintain the moderate microsatellite variation of the Kinmen otter population might be few in number or occurred before the extirpation of Eurasian otters in southerneastern China. The conservation of Kinmen otters should therefore be more proactive to keep this population sustainable with healthy genetic diversity.


The genetic data of the wild population in this study will contribute to the conservation strategy of Eurasian otters on Kinmen Island both ex situ and in situ and will be beneficial to the management of the possible surviving Eurasian otter populations in East Asia in the future.

Dr. Nian-Hong Jang-Liaw
Taipei Zoo

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Genetic diversity and structure of Eurasian otters on Kinmen Island, Conservation Genetics, May 2023, Springer Science + Business Media, DOI: 10.1007/s10592-023-01525-2.
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