After being left behind by his family, the otter trailed sluggishly behind them before stopping under a wooden bridge along the Kallang River. Although the Otter Working Group had planned to trap and treat the otter, they decided against it as they could see that his health was failing. At around 2. He had been around seven to eight years old, Mr Teo said.
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Wildlife Reserves Singapore received the carcass and will perform a post-mortem on it. Bishan dad with his two youngest children in February Mr Sivasothi, who has studied the mammals since , said otters in the wild can live for about eight years, while those in captivity can survive for up to 14 years. He's very successful in how he led the family and that's why they managed to stay intact in such a large group. We know this from zoos - not every parent is good. An adult which is a very good parent is prized in a captive collection.
This brings the number of otters in the Bishan family to The future of the family is uncertain, and both Mr Teo and Mr Sivasothi were unsure on whether the mother would take a new mate. The Bishan dad and mum in their courtship days in Individuals who travel alongside are almost always related. Lone otters are typically males in search of a group.
The size of groups vary according to what the environment can provide. If there is less food, the families will split up to seek out food in smaller packs. There are laws against the trapping and killing of otters in Singapore.
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The current WABA review is addressing this. In order for the otters to continue thriving, they require adequate space to feed, reproduce, dry their fur and for rest.
Otters need space to rest and sleep, and dry their fur off at after a hunting swim important in order for them to maintain the waterproofing ability of their fur before they go back in the water again. Unfortunately, one of the first male otters sighted in the Marina Bay family, was suspected to have been poisoned, and died although there was no known proof of actual rat poisoning soon after, in July In December , a five-year-old girl on holiday in Singapore with her family, was bitten by an otter near Gardens by the Bay.
Splashy Otter Family
An angler was also seen throwing rocks at the otters swimming by at the Punggol Waterfront, in February Education alone would not be enough, but several impassioned otter watchers have been volunteering to ensure new otter watchers are mindful, and that is heartening. Residents have erected fences to keep them out, but nature conservationists have said that would not be sufficient or effective in stopping the otters who have intelligently adapted to surviving the urban environment, given that the fences were not deployed adequately or appropriately. Given the cuteness factor of the wild otters that has led to avid otter watching in Singapore, the small-clawed otters that are smaller in size, have also been highly trafficked in Southeast Asia according to a Traffic report.
Being highly social creatures that move around in herds, this does not bode well for the otters being sold as pets individually. The good thing is, there are countries that care to stop this and India, Bangladesh and the Philippines have submitted proposals for the ban of the international trade of the Asian small clawed otter, and the smooth-coated otter. The Natural Resource Defense Council NRDC says enforcement at species level is not carried out thoroughly, and they have been partnering with organizations globally to put together a strong case for the ban. In July , the 13th International Otter Symposium was held in Singapore for the first time and an Otter Working Group in Singapore was set up, comprising of researchers, conservationists, scientists, and wildlife officers, and government institutions.
It was set up in a bid to promote awareness and public education for protection of the now native otters, as well as to mitigate possible increasing human-animal conflict. Encouraging good wildlife ethics and public involvement in research and monitoring of the species would be beneficial to developing ongoing conservation management of otters in Singapore.
The rise of citizen science has also allowed the provision of an even wider pool of data on otter observations and documentation of species behaviour with groups like the Otter Working Group that actively helps in the management and rescue of otters. Otters have been a point of interest for many in Singapore, and a ground-up initiative has been made to create a crowd-sourced database about them, that you can add to as well.
There are also otter enthusiasts who have set up their own Facebook pages, like Ottercity , to spot and track their movements, as well as produce well-edited videos to vividly relay relatable humanlike stories about the otter populations in Singapore. Otterwatch is another Facebook group set up in by N. Sivasothi, in the National University of Singapore for use with several student project work with otters. In-depth stories about Asia and more delivered straight to your inbox every two months.
Enjoying your read? Sign up for our newsletter to get a roundup of our stories every two months and more. Wild otters in Singapore Take a walk on the wild side in Singapore and you will find that one of the most adaptable immigrant wildlife species have made the waterway systems of Singapore their home, and boomed in numbers over the years.
The differences between the smooth-coated and Asian small-clawed otters that are commonly seen in Singapore. Photo of otters feeding by James Wong, Ottercity Facebook page. Conflicts and problems with humans In December , a five-year-old girl on holiday in Singapore with her family, was bitten by an otter near Gardens by the Bay. Photo of Sentosa Cove.
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