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The Otter Side of the Story

Otters in Goa


I’m sitting by the manas (small sluice gate) along with wildlife conservationist Atul Borker. He keeps looking at the water as he talks, viagra 60mg never really making any eye contact with me. He tells me about the rich mangroves and its importance to the diverse wildlife it supports and then all of a sudden pauses, squints to focus on the surface of the water and points, “Look! It’s an otter!” I catch a quick glance of this little elusive mammal, before it dives back in, and it’s gone. I had no idea we had otters in our backwaters, and perhaps you didn’t either.

Smooth-Coated Otters (Lutrogale perspicillata) are a globally threatened species and are highly protected by the Wildlife Protection Act of India, 1972. The mangroves in Goa are amongst the very few otter habitats left in Asia. Smooth-Coated Otters are apex predators in the riverine ecosystem. Very little is known and understood about their behaviour by scientists around the world. We do know that they require fresh, unpolluted water to survive, and that many of their habitats have been lost. This makes it vitally significant to support efforts to study and protect this fascinating mammal.

The idea of WildFriday, a weekend wildlife event, started just after Atul and myself sighted an otter in the backwaters. Atul A. Sinai Borker is a research associate with Mhadei Research Center. He leads the otter conservation program in Goa. The challenge he faced was that the total number of people working on this program was five, which included two remote workers. Conservation is serious business. It requires extensive field work in addition to outreach efforts. Atul needed a volunteer network to create awareness and scout remnant otter populations. The answer: motorcycles. Enter IndusRider, a community of like-minded people brought together with a common love for riding motorcycles, of which I am the founding member. Our goal is to engage with the real India on two wheels and extend the role of bikers from spectator to participant. This opportunity to contribute to conservation efforts in the locality was in perfect synchrony with IndusRider’s intentions. We decided to join hands with Atul Borker.

IndusRider and the Mhadei Research Centre have come together to promote citizen participation in wildlife conservation efforts. The idea is to bring people in to visit the otter habitats in a safe and responsible way. We meet on a Friday in town and are briefed by the experts on what they can expect to see. Over the weekend, we ride through some of most scenic parts of Goa. An authentic Goan lunch full of conversations and discussions around the day’s sightings wraps up the weekend. This first-hand experience is the best way to appreciate the depth and importance of this effort. It’s also your best shot at an actual otter sighting, if you’re lucky.

The first Otter Habitat Ride was scheduled for the Republic Day weekend, 24th – 26th Jan. Among the participants was Eliza Massey, a fellow of the Jupiter Traveller. Eliza has been travelling across the globe on her GS 650 BMW motorcycle and is in her 15th month on the road. Eliza expressed that this was truly one of the best rides she has had so far in her epic adventure. She has promised to help spread the word and support the effort.

Here are some of the moments from the Otter Habitat Ride







IndusRider is really excited that the Otter Habitat Rides have begun and will continue for another month. This is call to action for you the reader, to stop being a reader and start being a rider. If you want to participate, please contact Arvind Prabhakar via email at Rides are a maximum of 10 people so they fill up quickly. For more information on Otters in Goa visit Bring your friends and families along. The otters are counting on you.

Arvind Prabhakar is the founder of IndusRider. He lives in Aldona, Goa and is a Designer, Photographer and an avid motorcyclist.