NSI DresdenProjekteLutra lutraInformationen zum Projekt

Programme to promote cross-border cooperation between the Free State of Saxony and the Czech Republic 2014-2020

German-Czech Cooperation

„Hallo Nachbar – Ahoj sousede“

The programme intends to strengthen the cooperation between partners from the Free State of Saxony and the Czech Republic. As Nature knows no borders, transboundary conservation activities are especially important for numerous animal and plant species.

The Eurasian otter occurs in rivers and streams of the Ore Mountains along the German-Czech border and depends on living conditions in both countries. For this reason, the project Lutra lutra was originated by the Naturschutzinstitut Dresden, the association ALKA Wildlife in Lidéřovice and the Municipal Museum of Ústí nad Labem for the protection of Eurasian otters in 2017.

The project is funded by the European Union with financial resources from the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund).

The project

Within the project, partners from both countries research the occurrence of the Eurasian otter in the German-Czech border region and the habitat quality in the Czech district Ústí and the Saxon part of the Ore Mountains in the north. The objective is to identify risk spots for migrating otters and to develop elimination measures. First conservation actions will be implemented as models during the project term. Through an analysis of genetic samples, it is possible to conclude migration routes and population status by genetic variability and gene flow.

The project target, which runs until 2020, is a long-term strengthening of the Saxon and the northern Bohemian otter population and the improvement of the biotope network along the migration routes. 

Project area

The project activities on the Saxon side extend to the city of Dresden and the districts Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge, Mittelsachsen and Erzgebirgskreis. In the Czech Republic, the project is realized in the Ústecký Region (Ústecký kraj). For the study of the occurrence and habitat suitability of the Eurasian otter, possible migration corridors like river and stream systems between Saxony and the Czech Republic were selected.

Objectives of the project

The objectives of the project are:

  • Identification of migration corridors between Czech and Saxon otter subpopulations
  • To provide a knowledge base for their status assessment
  • Identification of migration barriers and risk spots
  • Development, design and implementation of risk elimination measures
  • Strengthening the cooperation between partners from both countries
  • Further education and information to raise public awareness of these issues

Project partners

The project is jointly implemented by 3 partners:

AG Naturschutzinstitut Region Dresden e. V.  (lead partner)

Alka Wildlife, o.p.s. (cooperation partner) or Facebook Alka Wildlife

Muzeum města Ústí nad Labem, p.o. (cooperation partner)


Consideration of…

  • Cross-over points: bridges
  • specific obstacles: weirs, mills, grids
  • estuaries, inflows

Registration of…

River´s name, date, time

Foto: NSI
Foto: NSI



Assessment of the suitability for genetic monitoring

Well-suited locations for monitoring activities:

  • Berms have to be accessible with structures like elevated stones
  • Faeces of category 1 and marking fluid if applicable

Assumption: the otter haunts and marks the place regularly



It can be exciting to evaluate the recorded data. Fortunately, otters were regularly registered in the region, as the survey shows so far. No settlement of otters could be noticed on 55% of all crossing but at 209 places faeces of different categories were found (figure 1). There is no location where the species is absent.

Furthermore, bridges crossing the stream threats were evaluated for migrating otters whereby only 63 bridges (around 13%) pose a major risk for otters.  This is, in particular, the case, if under the bridge no natural riversides or berms exist and migrating otters have to take the way across the road. It is positive that 328 bridges (70%) present a low hazard (figure 2).

First habitat improvements have been realised meanwhile. 1000m² of waterlines were removed from Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera), an invasive neophyte, to contribute to the water ecology. Moreover, two silt up and dried up ponds were revitalised close to streams.

Figure 1: Quantity and age classification of otter faeces under bridges

Figure 2: Risk potential of bridges for the Eurasian otter

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