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OttersEcology, behaviour and conservation$
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Hans Kruuk

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198565871

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198565871.001.0001

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Survival and mortality

Survival and mortality

Chapter:
(p.193) Chapter 12 Survival and mortality
Source:
Otters
Author(s):

Hans Kruuk

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198565871.003.0012

This chapter discusses age-structure in Eurasian and North American river otters. Otters have short life expectancy, with mortality increasing with age. Sea otter is a long-lived exception. Causes of death are enumerated, including predation, intra-specific mortality, and various human activities. Starvation appears to be the most important cause. The index of body-condition K is formulated. Various kinds of pollutants and their effects are described, including insecticides, PCBs, and mercury. There is little evidence that pollution substantially affects present-day populations. Although predation in most species is insignificant, predation of sea otters by sharks and killer whales has caused large population declines; part of a ‘megafauna collapse’.

Keywords:   survival, mortality, age-structure, predation, starvation, body-condition, pollution, PCBs, mercury

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