Widespread in Italy in the early 1900s, the Eurasian otter subsequently underwent a dramatic decline that led to its local extinction in many administrative regions, with the exception of a small residual nucleus in southern Italy. For a few years now, the Austrian and Slovenian populations adjacent to north-eastern Italy have been increasing sharply, leading to a recolonization of the area by the species. During 2020, in Friuli Venezia Giulia, surveys of signs of presence were carried out in 48 grid cells (10 x 10 km) to update information on the species’ local distribution. The following monitoring methods were used: monitoring beneath bridges combined with transects along water courses. 17 grid cells tested positive for the presence of the species, and currently, the otter appears widely distributed in Friuli Venezia Giulia along the main waterways of the Eastern Alps and Prealps, and in some areas overlooking the plain of the Tagliamento and the transborder Isonzo-Soča basin, both included in the Po plain. These constitute the first observations of the species for more than 50 years. Compared to previous studies, 13 new grid cells involving the presence of otters were identified, including in lowland areas, suggesting a progressive expansion from the mountain ranges towards the Po-Venetian Plain. This represents, a spur to expand research and implement new studies to improve levels of knowledge about and the consequent protection of the species. Finally, the integration of transects along riverbanks to monitoring beneath bridges, allowed us both to collect numerous observation and to compare our results with previous studies.

HAS THE RECOLONIZATION OF THE PO PLAIN BEGUN? UPDATES REGARDING THE PRESENCE OF THE EURASIAN OTTER (Lutra lutra) IN NORTH-EASTERN ITALY

PIZZUL E.
Data Curation
;
2022

Abstract

Widespread in Italy in the early 1900s, the Eurasian otter subsequently underwent a dramatic decline that led to its local extinction in many administrative regions, with the exception of a small residual nucleus in southern Italy. For a few years now, the Austrian and Slovenian populations adjacent to north-eastern Italy have been increasing sharply, leading to a recolonization of the area by the species. During 2020, in Friuli Venezia Giulia, surveys of signs of presence were carried out in 48 grid cells (10 x 10 km) to update information on the species’ local distribution. The following monitoring methods were used: monitoring beneath bridges combined with transects along water courses. 17 grid cells tested positive for the presence of the species, and currently, the otter appears widely distributed in Friuli Venezia Giulia along the main waterways of the Eastern Alps and Prealps, and in some areas overlooking the plain of the Tagliamento and the transborder Isonzo-Soča basin, both included in the Po plain. These constitute the first observations of the species for more than 50 years. Compared to previous studies, 13 new grid cells involving the presence of otters were identified, including in lowland areas, suggesting a progressive expansion from the mountain ranges towards the Po-Venetian Plain. This represents, a spur to expand research and implement new studies to improve levels of knowledge about and the consequent protection of the species. Finally, the integration of transects along riverbanks to monitoring beneath bridges, allowed us both to collect numerous observation and to compare our results with previous studies.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3029147
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