Otter Damage Monitoring (ODaMo)

Development of methods to effectively monitor damage caused by Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) in fish pond farming

Project coordinator: Dr. Reinhard Klenke
Research: Dr. Reinhard Klenke, Aleksandra Zarzycka, Dr. Annegret Grimm-Seyfarth
Funded by: Saxonian State Agency for Environment, Agriculture, and Geology (LfULG)
Projekt management: Dr. Reinhard Klenke
Funded project duration: 01.03. 2015 - 30.10. 2015

Subquestions are further investigated in cooperation with LfULG within academic education.

Motivation & Description

For this project, it is planned to develop a monitoring measure (i.a. Council Directive 92/43/EEC) that aims at monitoring the occurrence of Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) at fish farming ponds and the damage caused by them. The process shall provide necessary information for the fisheries authorities to be able to classify and legally assess damage reports from fish pond farmers in terms of the hardship case compensation.
In doing so, we also want to elaborate approaches for further reduction of the conflict between Eurasian otter and fish pond farming (e.g. identification of conflict sources at the ponds, development of suggestions for avoidance and protection).
For this, the method for estimating visiting rates published by GRUBER et al. (2008) will be used and put in context with economic data of fish pond farming (e.g. stock, amount of fish caught, operation management).
A model will be developed in order to examine the plausibility of recorded damages caused by otter and resume the record in the future, by means of specifically measured visiting rates of Eurasian otter, landscape parameters and information on fish pond farming. In order to reduce errors, ponds that are under high pressure by feeding cormorants are excluded from data collection. The potential impact of cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo), which also feed on fish, will be analysed using large-scale intersection of Eurasian otter occurrence and observation data of cormorants as well as of Grey heron (Ardea cinerea) and Great egret (Ardea alba), which are already being recorded by appropriate monitoring. It is also intended to minimize potential distortion of the results by confused otter scat with that of other fish feeding martens, e.g. mink (Neovison vison). This aspect is being investigated by another project about the use of detection dogs in nature conservation.

ODaMo will also compile and integrate results produced in the projects FRAP und LUTRA.


  • Grimm-Seyfarth A, Klenke R A (2017): Suchhunde im Naturschutz: Geruchsunterscheidung zwischen nahe verwandten Arten mit identischer Diät. In: Schüler C, Kaul P (Hrsg.) Faszinosum Spürhunde: Gefahren sichtbar machen – Gefahren abwenden. Tagungsergebnisse des 3. Symposiums für Odorologie im Diensthundewesen an der Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg. Schriften der Arbeitsgemeinschaft Odorologie e.V. Band 1. Verlag Dr. Kovač, Hamburg, pp 253 - 266
  • Grimm-Seyfarth A, Klenke R (2019): Wie findet man schwer zu erfassende Arten? Vorteile und Limitierungen von Artenspürhunden. In: Schüler, C., Kaul, P., (Hrsg.) Faszinosum Spürhunde - Dem Geruch auf der Spur. Tagungsergebnisse des 4. Symposiums für Odorologie im Diensthundewesen an der Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg. Schriften der Arbeitsgemeinschaft Odorologie e.V. Band 2. Verlag Dr. Kovač, Hamburg, S. 40 - 47
  • Grimm-Seyfarth, A., Zarzycka, A., Nitz, T., Heynig, L., Weissheimer, N., Lampa, S., Klenke, R., (2019): Performance of detection dogs and visual searches for scat detection and discrimination amongst related species with identical diets. Nat. Conserv.-Bulgaria (37), 81 - 98.

  • References

  • Gruber B, Reineking B, Calabrese J M, Kranz A, Poledníková K, Poledník L, Klenke R, Valentin A and Henle K (2008): A new method for estimating visitation rates of cryptic animals via repeated surveys of indirect signs. Journal of Applied Ecology, 45: 728–735.
  • Klenke RA, Ring I, Schwerdtner Máñez K, Habighorst R, Weiss V, Wittmer H, Gruber B, Lampa S, Henle K. (2013): Otters in Saxony: A Story of Successful Conflict Resolution. In Klenke RA, Ring I, Kranz A, Jepsen N, Rauschmayer F, Henle K. (Eds.) Human - Wildlife Conflicts in Europe. Fisheries and Fish-eating Vertebrates as a Model Case. Series: Environmental Science and Engineering, Subseries: Environmental Science. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. pp 107-140.
  • Lampa S, Mihoub JB, Gruber B, Klenke K, & Henle K (2015) Non-invasive genetic mark-recapture as a means to study population sizes and marking behaviour of the elusive Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra). PLoS ONE 10(5): e0125684.
  • Klenke R, Tschierschke A, Gruber B, Lampa S, Hempel U, Geissler S, Helm C, Kalbitz J, Kaulfuss J, Liu Z, Meichsner C & Henle K (2008) Räumliche und zeitliche Aktivitätsmuster von Fischottern (Lutra lutra Linnaeus, 1758) anhand von frischen Markierungsfunden in einer Teichlandschaft. Säugetierkundliche Informationen, Jena 6, 209-226.
    Klenke et al. (2008)