When leaving: about the past, the present and the future of Lutra

When I joined Lutra’s editorial team as editor-in-chief in 2002, the journal was in a state of transition. I was following in the footsteps of two outstanding predecessors. A. Scheygrond (1953-1976) and Chris Smeenk (1981-1998) had determined Lutra’s content for many years, and each was very successful in their own way, but it was not now clear which direction the journal should take. Scheygrond had worked hard to increase knowledge about the presence of indigenous mammals, and had also made a huge contribution to popularising mammal science in the Netherlands through Lutra and other channels. One of his many achievements was the publication in Lutra of the first Atlas of Dutch Mammals (Lutra 13-1/3; 1971). The special issues on badgers (Lutra 6-1/2; 1964) and otters (Lutra 12-1/2; 1970) were also important events. Until then, little was known about these species in the Netherlands, other than the fact that their numbers were so low that they were probably endangered. The first author of these three publications was Anne van Wijngaarden who, together with his co-authors, conducted pioneering research in the Netherlands during this period.

Smeenk had focussed on improving the scientific quality of the manuscripts submitted while also paying a great deal of attention to correct use of language and syntax. During his ‘reign’ in the 1980s, Lutra regularly published hefty single-theme issues, including an Otter Special too (Lutra 27-1; 1984), the Predator Special (Lutra 29-1; 1986) and the Whale Special (Lutra 30-2; 1987).

Both editors also made their mark on Lutra’s appearance: during Scheygrond’s period as editor-in-chief, issues were published as....