Oriental Small-clawed Otter (Aonyx cinereus)

The Oriental small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus) is a member of the weasel family (Mustelidae) and is distributed from the Philippines through Indonesia, Southeast Asia, southern China and westwards through the Himalayan foothills of Bangladesh.  

A past accidental introduction of Oriental small-clawed otters occurred in Great Britain which suggests that this species can breed and establish in climates similar to that of Tasmania.

The Oriental small-clawed otter is listed on the IUCN Red List as vulnerable, while the species is listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The species has been classed in the Serious Risk category by the Vertebrate Pest Committee (VPC) for import into Australia.​

Following the initial risk assessment, the Department considers permitting the importation of animals assessed as ‘moderate risk’ into the State as long as appropriate mitigation measures, enforced through a wildlife exhibition licence, can be identified and applied. ​

Mitigation options to reduce the risk associated with importing Oriental small-clawed otter​ include: ​

  1. Limiting importation to registered wildlife parks or zoos to ensure the holding facility meets the stringent keeping standards​ Tasmania applies to all institutions.

  2. Requiring any wildlife park or zoo to submit a Oriental small-clawed otter​​ species management plan (including enclosure details) prior to import.

  3. The wildlife exhibition facility can clearly demonstrate they have proficient keepers for that particular species.

Assessment Documentation

  Oriental Small-clawed 0tter Risk Assessment   (314Kb)

Wildlife Management Branch
134 Macquarie Street
GPO Box 44
Phone: 03 6165 4305
Fax: 03 6173 0253
Email: wildlife.reception@dpipwe.tas.gov.au