News

16.06.2017 - Wrong otter on recent Swiss postage stamp

(lsn/20 Minuten) In March 2017 Swiss Post launched a series of special postage stamps showing domestic animal babies. One of the stamps depicts a baby otter, according to Swiss Post a ‘Fischotter’ (Lutra Lutra or ‘European Otter’). But experts say the stamp does not show a European otter, but an Asian Dwarf Otter (Aonyx cinerea). The difference between the two otter types are that the European Otter has clearly visible webbing and claws on his paws; the Asian Dwarf Otter (or Small Clawed Otter) lacks these features. This is confirmed by the Swiss Pro Lutra Foundation, an organization that tries to protect the otter population in Switzerland. Managing Director Irene Weinberger of Pro Lutra: 'The depicted animal baby is clearly an Asian Dwarf Otter and not the kind of otter that you will find in Europe.’ Otters were chased relentlessly in Switzerland when in 1888 a law took effect that determined that all animals that were harmful to the fisheries sector had to be eradicated. In 1952 however, the otter became a protected animal. In 1989 experts assumed that, despite this measure, the otter had become extinct in Switzerland. The good news is that in the last few years the first specimens have returned home. That’s as maybe, but according to Irene Weinberger currently there are less than ten otters in Switzerland.