Rare Otter Caught in 'self-portrait'

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, July 26 (UPI) — The world’s rarest otter was photographed on Borneo when a single animal tripped an automatic camera placed by conservationists, scientists say.

The last confirmed record of the hairy-nosed otter in the Malaysian state of Sabah was more than 100 years ago, and none has been seen anywhere on the island since one was killed by a car 13 years ago, BBC News reported Monday.


Scientists did not know whether the species would be still found on Borneo, and experts only realized they had recorded a hairy-nosed otter (Lutra sumatrana) after examining photos of three types of otter.

Two other otters caught on the camera were the smooth-coated otter and the Asian small-clawed otter, researchers said.

Close examination of one photograph revealed a hairy-nosed otter, which has a flatter, longer head, a white throat and darker fur than its two relatives.

“This is great news for Sabah and shows once again how unique and fortunate we are in terms of wildlife and nature,” Dr. Laurentius Ambu, director of the Sabah Wildlife Department, said.

The medium-sized otters, around 4 feet in length and weighing around 15 pounds, are listed as endangered, the BBC said.

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