The Congo clawless otter (Aonyx congicus) (Mustelidae: Lutrinae): a review of its systematics, distribution and conservation status
Among the four African otter species, the Congo clawless otter (Aonyx congicus) is the least known due to the remoteness of its Central African equatorial rainforest range. The taxonomic status and the criteria to differentiate A. congicus from the quite similar Cape clawless otter (Aonyx capensis) are reviewed. The current distribution and status of A. congicus (Gabon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, southern Cameroon and Central African Republic, northern Angola, and probably western Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi) is updated using an information network, surveys in Gabon, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and localities of museum specimens. The species is mainly threatened by deforestation, hunting for bush meat and use for witchcraft materials.
Key words: Africa, otter, Aonyx congicus, conservation, distribution.