RSS Feed

Related Articles

Related Categories

Giant Otters in Peru’s Manu National Park

7th February 2013 Print

This Saturday’s instalment (8 February, BBC2, 8pm) of the BBC’s Natural World series focuses on the Amazon rainforest’s giant otters. Filmed by Charlie Hamilton James in collaboration with the Frankfurt Zoological Society, the episode follows Diablo, as his unusually-large family of six cubs (the largest ever recorded) grow up in a jungle lake in south-eastern Peru’s Manu National Park.

Giant otters were previously hunted to near the brink of extinction, but have now slightly recovered as a result of the CITES ban on trade in their fur. However, they’re now threatened – like so much Amazonian wildlife – by the continued destruction of their forest habitat via industries like gold-mining, as well as the pollution such industries cause.

Famed as one of the best places to see jaguars, Manu National Park is also known as a premier destination for watching giant otters. Extending from the Andes to the Amazon, the park ranks high among Earth’s most biologically-diverse areas. Protected since 1973, it spans 1.7 million hectares, with terrain ranging from paramo scrubland through moss-festooned elfin forest to lowland tropical jungle, and also boasts Andean spectacled bears, tapir, 15 species of monkey and over 1,000 bird species. It’s also home to approximately 80-100 giant otters, which live mainly in the large ox-bow lakes along the Manu River. The otters in the BBC film were shot on the largest of these, Cocha Salvador.

If you’d like to visit Manu and hopefully see a giant otter yourself, try wildlife specialist Naturetrek. The company has a brand-new ‘Wild Peru – The Best of Manu‘ tour which almost guarantees sightings of this incredible creature, along with a huge spread of the park’s of birds, countless reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and other mammals. The tour aims to explore each unique area of the park in depth and thus provide a real insight into its amazing biodiversity. Visiting Manu constitutes one of South America’s ultimate forest journeys and wildlife experiences.

Departing 20 September 2013, the 17-day tour costs £4,795 pp, including flights from Heathrow (one overnight), all transportation, 13 nights’ full board in a mixture of birding and wildlife lodges, two nights’ room-only accommodation in Lima and the services of an expert tour guide.

For more information, visit