River Otter Found Unlikely to Be Japanese Endemic Species (News)
Tokyo, Oct. 12 (Jiji Press)—The river otter found on the island of Tsushima in southwestern Japan is unlikely to be the Japanese river otter, an endemic species that has been declared extinct, a researcher said Thursday.
The Environment Ministry conducted research across Tsushima between August 28 and September 2 after a video image captured a wild river otter on the island in Nagasaki Prefecture in February, marking the first discovery of the creature in the country in 38 years.
The survey found that at least one Eurasian otter, a species similar to the type that live in South Korea and the Russian province of Sakhalin, inhabits the island, the ministry said.
The possibility that the otter in Tsushima is the Japanese river otter is "very low," as they are distantly related genealogically, Sasaki Hiroshi, professor at Chikushi Jogakuen University, who participated in the research, told a press conference.
Tsushima is located about halfway between the Japanese mainland and the Korean Peninsula. The Japanese river otter, whose scientific name is Lutra nippon, was categorized as extinct in Japan's red list in 2012.[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]