Did you know that wild otters are often sighted in Singapore? The creatures gobbled several fish including an arowana, a prized species that can sell for tens of thousands of dollars. Malaysia is home to four protected otter species: the smooth-coated otter that is listed as “threatened”, the Asian small-clawed otter, the hairy-nosed otter, and the Eurasian otter. OtterCity is a platform to share original collection of otter stories, pictures and videos in Singapore. Where to find them: Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve, Pulau Ubin, Serangoon, Punggol, Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. The otter species commonly seen here is the smooth coated otter, which can grow to nearly one metre long. The otter population in Singapore was initially thought extinct between the 1960s and 1970s, but sightings in the 1990s confirmed their presence in the Sungei Buloh wetlands area. Singapore is not just an Asian tiger city; these days it is a "city in a garden" and the otters are our garden's stars. “Five years ago, people still knew very little about the otters,” Teo says. The smooth-coated otters were residents in the Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve in 1998, and the small … Otters are just one of the country's numerous animal species. Once thought to be extinct in Singapore, wild otters are making a comeback to the urban city state. Known to Singaporeans at the Zouk family, this tribe of otters is revealing new insights into the lives of city-dwelling otters. 90K likes. Fans believe people should be celebrating the return of an animal that was driven out of Singapore by coastal development and water pollution around the 1970s, and only started reappearing in … Human–animal conflicts are common in urban spaces, but these can often be prevented with further awareness and education on appreciating Singapore’s native wildlife without threatening or encroaching on their territory. The creatures gobbled several fish including an arowana, a prized species that can sell for tens of thousands of dollars. “BFM: The Business Radio Station - Citizen Science and the Case Study of Smooth-Coated Otters in Singapore.” Accessed January 4, 2019. International Otter Survival Fund.” Accessed March 1, 2019. As citizen interest in urban otters has deepened, so has scientific research, as biologists seek to learn how urban otters fit into such a bustling landscape. IUCN Otter Spec. “It’s a really healthy population,” Johns says. 35 (3): 171 – 182). Lutra Lutra, the Eurasian otter, can be found across vast swathes of the world from Portugal in the west all the way east to Korea and as far south as Sumatra, but otter populations globally have been in decline for decades. COMMENTARY: Otters, which have always been native to Singapore, are a rare case of returning native species after most of their original habitat was destroyed. Residents have erected fences to keep them out, but nature conservationists note that these fences, deployed neither adequately or appropriately, have been effective at stopping otters adapted to surviving in the urban environment. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2019/01/wild-otters-popular-exotic-pets/. There are two species of otters in SG – smooth-coated otters and Asian small-clawed otters. With the streets empty, the creatures have been spotted hanging out by a shopping centre, scampering through the lobby of a hospital and even feasting on pricey fish stolen … “Asian Countries Propose Bans on Commercial Trade in Otters.” NRDC. The creatures gobbled several fish including an arowana, a prized species that can sell for tens of thousands of dollars. Teo, Jeffrey. However, there are some negative implications of the growing number of otters. Singapore's otters, long adored by the city-state’s nature lovers, are popping up in unexpected places during the coronavirus lockdown but their antics have angered some and even sparked calls for a cull. “Distinguishing Features between Asian Small-Clawed Otters and Smooth-Coated Otters,” March 5, 2019. “Singapore is the best example with the smooth-coated otters living right in the city center,” he said. Now, the story of Singapore's otters is remarkable. Put together by passionate people for people! https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330349070_Observations_of_the_Variation_in_Group_Structure_of_two_Urban_Smooth-Coated_Otter_Lutrogale_perspicillata_Groups_in_the_Central_Watershed_of_Singapore. We've seen appearances of the smooth coated otter in Singapore. Accessed February 25, 2019. Additionally, the team has found that to cope with the lack of available land, the otters are changing their behaviour—for instance by living with their parents longer. For instance, while otters generally are known as skilled hunters, Johns and his team have discovered that having pups dramatically lowers the adult Zouk otters’ success rate in hunting, since they have to spend a lot of their time teaching the pups to catch food. The amount of space an otter needs depends on how much food is available, but they can maintain a large territory; one animal can travel nine miles a day. Singapore's otters, long adored by the city-state's nature lovers, are popping up in unexpected places during the coronavirus lockdown but their antics have angered some and even sparked calls for a cull. Make your way down to the Otter Tree and take a look at photos of otters contributed by the community. The first ever recorded otter sighting in Singapore actually dates back to 1938, on Lazarus Island, with the next sighting of otters recorded in the 1970s. In Sentosa Cove, a luxury district in an island off Singapore’s southern coast, residents have found the otters a problem. But some are now saying the otters' revival has gone too far. “Wild Otters Are the Latest Exotic Pet Trend.” Animals, January 10, 2019. Disclaimer: Our stories have been researched and fact-checked to the best of our abilities. Like many Singaporeans, I am a fan of these mammals and I love to see them foraging for food almost every evening at Changi Point between 6pm and 7pm. Singapore. But conservationists say the recent surge in social media hype around the creatures has sparked such a frenzied demand for baby otters in Asian countries, Japan in particular, that it could drive entire species towards extinction. At the height of the lockdown, we've watched an otter family frolicking by the Mustafa department store … In Singapore's Marina Bay, an otter dines on a fish. After spending the morning fishing, the Bishan family rest ashore for a few hours. MAY 24 — One bright spot during the general disruption of Covid-19 has been the otters. Menu. Khoo, M de Yuan and Sivasothi, N (2018)b. “Marina Bay, including Kallang and Singapore Rivers, are the best places to see the otters as there are … Most of Singapore's otters are the smooth-coated variety, classified as "vulnerable". Singapore’s otters, long adored by the city-state’s nature lovers, are popping up in unexpected places during the COVID-19 lockdown, but their antics have angered some and even sparked calls for a cull. A few months later, in February 2018, an angler was seen throwing rocks at otters swimming by the Punggol Waterfront. There is scant information on the sea otter, which is only found in the coastal waters of northern Japan. Otters from the Bisham family react to a dog in Bay East Garden. Contact with this highly charismatic species has other benefits for Singapore residents by providing a portal for urbanites to connect with biodiversity and nature more broadly. All Asian otter species have long been listed as vulnerable or endangered after facing decades of shrinking habitats and illegal trade in their pelts. The rise of citizen science has also created an even wider pool of data on otter observations and documentation of species behaviour, with groups like the Otter Working Group actively helping in the management and rescue of otters. These sightings are of much delight to conservationists, as the presence of otters usually signals the health of the waters they are seen in. Interestingly, the branch of otters we now have in Singapore is believed to be a unique hybrid population—the, of an even union between both species, making it a surviving population that nearly went extinct. The Smooth-Coated Otter is a species rated vulnerable by the IUCN Red Book, and its expanding numbers and habitat in Singapore are helpful to its survival. Also found in Sungei Buloh are large monitor lizards, saltwater crocodiles, and smooth-coated otters, presumed extinct up until the 1990s—and 20 new species discovered for the first time. Most of Singapore's otters are the smooth-coated variety, classified as "vulnerable". Sea otters are the exception, giving birth in the water. More stories. According to Sivasothi, otters are social species, and they almost always travel together in families. The 20-pound creatures have also adapted well to urban spaces, denning in concrete bridges and basking on patches of sand between slabs of pavement. But the rise of the urban otter has caused some conflicts with people. For otters to continue thriving, they require adequate space to feed in, reproduce, dry their fur, and rest. Should you spot mistakes, inaccuracies, or have queries about our sources, please drop us an e-mail at Singapore's very famous smooth-coated otters are a unique hybrid of two different species, reveals recent research. The two families fought in the Singapore River in July last year. Cheeky otters are thriving in Singapore—and adapting quickly to big city life Like many urban species, the aquatic mammals are changing their behaviour to fit into … “Otters of the World.” Discover Wildlife. What is more surprising is that this relationship was not a smooth one. Profile of Indian smooth-coated otters. The Singapore story is a sanctuary of hope in a region otherwise largely hostile to aquatic weasels. Singapore has launched a new nature park that covers 400 hectares (990 acres), in an area that serves as a refueling site for migratory birds and a home to oriental hornbills, otters and crocodiles. on the population movement of otters, brought this to light. Profile of Indian smooth-coated otters. Critically, the fish species that otters rely on as sources of food need to thrive in Singapore’s waterways for the otters to remain. Smooth-Coated Otters in Singapore Sound Recording by Philip Johns. https://www.iucnosgbull.org/Volume35/Khoo_Sivasothi_2018b.html, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308317517_The_Smooth-Coated_Otter_Lutrogale_perspicillata_Mammalia_Mustelidae_in_Singapore_Establishment_and_Expansion_in_Natural_and_Semi-Urban_Environments. The NRDC has since been partnering with organisations around the world to put together a strong case for the ban. For instance, group members place road signs and educational signs at otter hot spots, as well as attempt to manage potential conflict. OtterWatch, a Facebook page dedicated to Singapore's otters, posted a photo of the otter on Thursday afternoon, with the phrase, "In Memory of 1st Otter in our City. Homeowners in the gated-community enclave on the island of Sentosa reported in 2015 that their koi carp ponds had been emptied by otters, and one hotel in the same area lost 85,000 Singaporean dollars’ worth of ornamental fish over eight months, according to local news reports. While most wild otters would leave their family at around two years old, Singapore’s otters will stay with their parents until three or four, as they wait for territory to open up. Local groups are trying to minimize negative interactions between people, pets, and otters. The smooth-coated ones grow up to about a metre long and weigh about 11kg. Back to wwf.sg; Blog; Categories. Ottercity. Otters eat about 15 to 25 percent of their body weight each day. https://www.bfm.my/dr-philip-johns-smooth-coated-otters-singapore.html. The smooth-coated otters were residents in the Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve in 1998, and the small-clawed otters have been around Pulau Tekong since the 1980s. How do otters survive in a highly urbanised city state like Singapore? When asked to vote for a mascot that would represent Singapore in its 2016 National Day celebrations, citizens voted wholeheartedly for the otter. https://www.discoverwildlife.com/animal-facts/mammals/otters-of-the-world/. Column One. There are four species of river otters in Asia: the smooth-coated otter, small-clawed otter, hairy-nosed otter, and Eurasian otter. Of the 13 extant otter species, the Indian smooth-coated otter, Lutra perspicillata, has graced Singapore waters in recent years. ... About 10 otters died in Singapore last year from a combination of fighting and vehicle collisions. Lutra Lutra, the Eurasian otter, can be found across vast swathes of the world from Portugal in the west all the way east to Korea and as far south as Sumatra, but otter populations globally have been in decline for decades. Population Structure, Distribution, and Habitat Use of Smooth-Coated Otters Lutrogale perspicillata in Singapore . The Bishan otter family are among the most photographed of the 10 otter groups in Singapore. While the otters seem to have fit into their urban environment, they still face threats, natural and human-made. Singapore, Singapore | Singapore's otters, long adored by the city-state's nature lovers, are popping up in unexpected places during the coronavirus lockdown but their antics have angered some and even sparked calls for a cull. Otters need space to rest and sleep, and especially to dry their fur off after a hunting swim—this helps them maintain the waterproofing ability of their fur before they return to the water again. N. Sivasothi, a senior lecturer from the Department of Biological Science, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore, has been monitoring and following these otters with his students for years. Now, to do his research all he has to do is step outside his house to see the sleek, playful creatures that are doing just swimmingly in Singapore. A showcase for compelling storytelling from the Los Angeles Times. There are currently an estimated 10 families of otters in Singapore, numbering around 70 otters in total. The Bishan family swins in Marina Bay with the iconic Singapore skyline in the background. Once thought to be extinct in Singapore, wild otters are making a comeback to the urban city state. Meanwhile, zoologist Chan Yik Khan said without historic data, it is hard to tell what led to the otters making the Kepong park their home now. Otter enthusiasts have also set up their own Facebook pages, such as Ottercity, to spot and track their movements. The Zouks were first driven from a part of the Singapore River. In the early 1990s, he recalls traveling to Penang in Malaysia to study the species, walking through the mangroves for hours, hoping to spot a single otter. Put together by passionate people for people! Most species of the semiaquatic animal live solitary lives. It’s … When the animals first reappeared in Singapore’s waterways, they were so unknown to most that “people thought that they could be beavers or seals,” says Sivasothi, who launched the website OtterWatch to help educate locals about these new inhabitants. There are more and more sightings of wild otters in Singapore in recent years. SubscribePrivacy Policy(UPDATED)Terms of ServiceCookie PolicyPolicies & ProceduresContact InformationWhere to WatchConsent ManagementCookie Settings. SINGAPORE: Three otters were spotted in the heart of Singapore's Central Business District on Sunday (Oct 28), swimming in a water feature outside office building One … The two common species of otters in Singapore are the. 90K likes. Asian Small Clawed Otter Sound Clip, International Otter Survival Fund. 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