Norris, D., & Michalski, F. (2009). Are Otters an Effective Flagship for the Conservation of Riparian Corridors in an Amazon Deforestation Frontier? IUCN Otter Specialist Group Bulletin, 26(2), 73–77.
Using flagship species to generate support for conservation activities has been successfully applied in some regions. We investigated whether using otters as a flagship for the conservation of riparian corridors in an Amazonian deforestation frontier would be likely to result in similar success. Between December 2007 and May 2009, we conducted 64 interviews with local landowners in the region of Alta Floresta (MT, Brazil). These interviews revealed a neutral attitude towards otters, which indicates that direct persecution (e.g. retaliation against otter predation on fish) is unlikely in the region. However, it also suggested that using otters as a flagship to generate local support for regional conservation activities will not be effective. There was a sharp contrast with the replies to questions regarding riparian corridors, where interviews did reveal strong positive attitudes. These results suggested that to conserve Giant Otters in the Amazon “Arc of deforestation”, efforts should focus on the support of maintenance of riparian corridors connecting forest fragments by local people.