|Going, going: A river otter eats a fish in the Shinjo River in Susaki, Kochi Prefecture, in June 1979. The Environment Ministry has declared the mammal species extinct. KOCHI SHIMBUN / KYODO|
Long categorized as an endangered species, the river otter is the first mammal to be declared extinct since the ministry started compiling such data in 1991.
The last one was spotted in Susaki, Kochi Prefecture, in 1979.
The otters, which when fully grown measured about 1 meter long, lived on fish and shrimp.
They were found across the nation before the war but started to decline as many were hunted for their fur and as their habitats became polluted.
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