Inbred otter population increasing

1280px-Otter_-_Whipsnade_Zoo_(5556537601)
. Picture: Wikimedia Commons/russavia

There is good news and bad news regarding the otter population in the Netherlands. The good news is that the number of otters is increasing, there are currently about 140 otters in the Netherlands. The bad news is that the genetic variation of the animals is lacking due to inbreeding.

This is according to research office Alterra and is based on the monitoring round that the research institute of the University of Wageningeg performs every year. Alterra can't predict what the consequences of the inbreeding will be, but it could lead to a decrease in the fertility of female otters and the survival rate of young otters.

Because the different otter populations live isolated from each other, inbreeding will not diminish in the short term. Alterra recommends bringing in "fresh blood", in the form of introducing "genetically unrelated individuals" into the populations.

 

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