PUBLISH is pleased to announce that News Penguin has selected the otter as June’s "Endangered Species of the Month", highlighting the need for conservation efforts to protect the species.
Otters are classified as Grade 1 endangered wildlife species as per the Ministry of Environment. Once common throughout Korea, their numbers have seen a sharp decline due to overhunting for fur and habitat disruption resulting from various developmental activities.
Despite being listed as endangered and protected species, they are still exposed to a host of threats that necessitate heightened protective measures.
In a recent unfortunate incident in Hwacheon County, Gangwon Province, an otter succumbed to mercury poisoning. The autopsy showed extensive damage to the otter's organs, with signs of liver cell necrosis and vascular damage from mercury exposure.
As inhabitants of river ecosystems, otters are particularly vulnerable to heavy metal pollution. However, their habitats continue to be threatened by ongoing developments such as large-scale golf courses.
Roadkill incidents also pose a serious threat. Data from the National Institute of Ecology show that over the past three years, an average of 100 otters per year have succumbed to such incidents, with more than half occurring in the five-month period from June to October.
This number is expected to increase with the growing number of roads and vehicles, underscoring the urgent need for preventative measures.
News Penguin’s “Endangered Species of the Month” campaign seeks to highlight the importance of preserving endangered wildlife and plant species, aiming to inspire action from policymakers and the general public.
The campaign has thus far highlighted several endangered species, such as the Suwon tree frog, the banded houndshark, and the Korean fir, among others.
PUBLISH is proud to support News Penguin in its efforts to protect the world’s biodiversity by minting and distributing NFTs of digital artworks depicting the endangered species.