Japanese river otter declared extinct

Kyodo

The Japanese river otter has been designated as extinct now that none has been seen for more than 30 years, according to a report released Tuesday by the Environment Ministry.

Long categorized as an endangered species, the river otter is the first mammal to be declared extinct since the ministry started compiling such data in 1991.

The last one was spotted in Susaki, Kochi Prefecture, in 1979.

The Asiatic black bear, a regionally endangered species, has also been declared extinct in Kyushu.

The otters, which when fully grown measured about 1 meter long, lived on fish and shrimp.

They were found across the nation before the war but started to decline as many were hunted for their fur and as their habitats became polluted.