The African Otter Network’s mission is the combining of efforts to ensure African otters are well known and conserved in clean and thriving freshwater ecosystems.
The African Otter Network (AON) brings together biologists and conservationists concerned by the lack of knowledge about and awareness of Africa’s four species of otters. Its objectives are to create a network in order to gather information about the otters’ current status and distribution as well as support range-country partners by fostering their research and conservation projects.
The underlying objectives of AON are:
- to increase and distribute knowledge of African otters and aquatic-associated ecosystems’ conservation.
- to increase expertise in research methodology and conservation of African otters
- to inspire stakeholders to protect African otters for the future
- to train and encourage the next generation of field biologists to further explore otter behaviour, habitat use and role in their ecosystems
- to create education and information resources fulfilling local partner needs
This will be accomplished by:
- Gathering existing data and identifying gaps
- Establishing a priority action plan for African otters’ conservation
- Training of new biologists and conservationists
- Creating a viable and effective Pan-African network of otter biologists and researchers working in aquatic-associated ecosystems
- Lobbying key stakeholders to conserve ecosystems benefiting all resident species and people
- Developing expertise of local partners interested in otter biology, conservation and human/otter conflict issues
- Assisting with funding and technical expertise mobilization where needed
- Sharing experience and knowledge
The group’s operating principle consists of working with a team of advisors to prioritize and develop specific projects and initiatives. Each project or initiative will have a leader among the team of advisors or a local partner and will be under the direction of the appropriate AON team member. The implementation of projects and/or initiatives will bring together stakeholders in targeted countries.