Six free-ranging marine otters (Lontra felina) were livetrapped on the central coast of Chile and implanted with specially designed radiotransmitters as part of a spatial ecology study. Marine otters frequent the rocky seashore, often squeezing their narrow bodies through cracks and crevices and grooming themselves on the rocks. They are also among the smallest of the otter species, weighing between 3.4 kg and 4.5 kg. For these reasons, the transmitter used was small, rectangular, and flat, measuring 3.5×3.2×1.0 cm. They were implanted using a ventral midline approach to minimize contact between the skin incision and sharp-edged rocks. Surgical incisions healed within 2 wk. The transmitters functioned well, but the duration varied from 62 days to 143 days instead of the 240 days predicted by the manufacturer. All six marine otters reestablished in their home ranges, and survey results suggest they survived well beyond the life of the transmitters.
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Vol. 44 • No. 4