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IUCN/SCC Otter Specialist Group Bulletin
© IUCN/SCC Otter Specialist Group

Volume 15 Issue 1 Pages 1 - 67 (April 1998)

From the Chairman's Desk
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For those of you who did not join the VIIth International Otter Colloquium and the meeting of the IUCN/SSC OSG in Trebon (Czech Republic) it might be a surprise that you do not get this notice from the desk of Padma de Silva. Due to personal reasons, she decided to retire as chairperson of the Otter Specialist Group (OSG) and to change to the position of the co-ordinator for Asia.

Padma took over the chair of the OSG in 1994, from Pat Foster-Turley, and she has done an excellent job since then. In Asia particularly, due to her efforts, otter protection has made great progress. The establishment of an Asian Secretariat was made possible by funds obtained from Japan. The Asian Otter Newsletter became an important link and source of information for otter people both in and outside the Asian region and several meetings of otter specialists and concerned parties from Asia and abroad contributed to the progress of otter work in this region. Padma also oversees the interests of the OSG within IUCN and the Species Survival Commision (SSC). We all have to thank Padma for the excellent work she has done these past four years, I personally wish her good health and I am sure she will have great success as co-ordinator for Asia. I would also like to include Syed Hussain, who has acted as Asian co-ordinator over recent years, in this message of thanks. I am very thankful that he will continue to be engaged in the group as a database co-ordinator for Asia.

On April 15 1998, David Brackett, chairman of the SSC, invited me to accept the position of chairman of the OSG and I subsequently agreed. For those of you who do not know me I would like to provide a short introduction. My name is Claus Reuther and I was born in 1950. I have been married since 1974 and am the father of two sons and one daughter (and grandfather of one granddaughter). After my training as a forest engineer, and a second study in environmental protection, I worked for several years as a forest officer with special tasks in nature conservation. In this way I started my otter work in 1974. In 1979, I founded the German Campaign for Otter Protection (Aktion Fischotterschutz) and organised the 1st International Otter Colloquium. Since 1987, when I established the German Otter Centre (Otterzentrum), I have been the fully employed Director of Aktion Fischotterschutz and the Otter Centre and am responsible for more than 60 employees of this non-profit organisation. I became a member of the IUCN/SSC Otter Specialist Group in 1981 and, since 1983, have been the co-ordinator for Europe. I have worked with otters in both captivity and in the wild, mainly with Lutra lutra, though excursions to Asia, Africa and North-America have given me the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience for most of the other otter species as well.

My main goals as chairman of the OSG for the next triennium, before the IUCN congress scheduled for the year 2000, will be:

  1. the preparation of a manifesto for the OSG, defining the fundamental goals of otter protection and the preconditions for a sustainable co-existence of otters and man on the basis of suitable habitats,
  2. the revision of the Otter Action Plan,
  3. the establishment of an information network within the OSG as well as between the OSG and specialists or institutions outside the otter world.

To ensure that the OSG will fulfill these aims it will be necessary for all members to participate in the groups’ work and contribute their particular experience. To all those who have done this before, through a high level of volunteer commitment, I want to express my special thanks. I invite all members of the OSG and all people interested in otters to accompany my chairmanship with constructive criticisms and to help me in making the OSG’s work a success for nature conservation.

Claus Reuther
Aktion Fischotterschutz e.V.
D-29386 Hankensbüttel
Phone:    +49-5832-98080
Fax:         +49-5832-980851
e-mail: Aktion.Fischotterschutz@t-online.de

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