Highly Commended in the International Category of the 2015 BBC Wildlife Blogger Awards

A Giant Announcement!

My new book, The Giant Otter: Giants of the Amazon, is available for preorder!


I have been involved with giant otters, in one way or another, since 1998. That, I now realise, covers two decades, almost half my life.


It all started with a literature study commissioned by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Actually, it started before that, with a Geographical Society sponsored expedition to the Las Piedras River in south-eastern Peru. I saw giant otters in the wild for the first time and mentioned the experience to my colleagues; I was then working at the Netherlands Committee for IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) in Amsterdam. Shortly after, the Director of IFAW Europe, Hemmo Muntingh, was looking for someone to undertake the literature study, with a focus on the Guiana Shield region, and his close friend and my boss, Wouter Veening, suggested that he ask me. My investigations into the world of giant otters and their conservation took me to Trebon, in the Czech Republic, where I participated in my first International Otter Colloquium, organised by the IUCN Otter Specialist group. And that eventually led me to becoming the coordinator, in early 1999, of a long term giant otter research and conservation field project in south-eastern Peru, run by the Frankfurt Zoological Society.


Seven years later, in 2006, I co-authored a book, together with my husband Frank Hajek, entitled Giants of the Madre de Dios, on giant otters and their conservation in Peru. The level of knowledge about the behaviour and ecology of this apex predator has increased substantially since then, so my new book, The Giant Otter: Giants of the Amazon, out in February and available for preorder now, is intended to serve both as a revised and updated edition of the first publication, as well as a more complete review of what is known about the species throughout its distribution range. It also includes numerous spectacular images by several award-winning photographers.


These days I work for San Diego Zoo Global Peru, as Communications Coordinator for the Cocha Cashu Biological Station, in Manu National Park. But I remain involved with the giant otter, not only as an advisory member of a team conducting new research on the species, particularly on the impact of illegal gold mining on its health and survival, but also as a regular and delighted observer of the resident giant otter family on Cocha Cashu lake.


Giant otters have enriched my life beyond measure. I think, now, that they will always be a part of it.


The Giant Otter: Giants of the Amazon

Available for preorder from:

Pen & Sword Books UK

Pen & Sword Books US

Amazon UK


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© 2014-2020, Jessica Groenendijk