https://www.nrdc.org/experts/paul-todd/asian-countries-propose-bans-commercial-trade-otters. Moretti, Beatrice, Omar F Al-Sheikhly, Monica Guerrini, Meryl Theng, Brij K Gupta, Mukhtar K Haba, Waseem Khan, Aleem Khan, and Filippo Barbanera. Singapore has two species of otters. Otters are members of the weasel family (Mustelidae), and while there are several other species of mustelids in Southeast Asia, such as hog badgers, ferret-badgers, the Yellow-throated Marten, and several weasels, otters are the only representatives of this family in Singapore. Most otter species come ashore to give birth in dens, which sometimes have been used by other animals such as beavers. But their newfound freedoms appear to have emboldened the otters, and they are now facing a backlash. 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. http://www.otter.org/Public/AboutOtters_OtterSpecies.aspx. Accessed March 1, 2019. By 2014, the otter population had expanded to the west and south coasts of Singapore, and the current population had begun breeding by 2015. Population Structure, Distribution, and Habitat Use of Smooth-Coated Otters Lutrogale perspicillata in Singapore . Abstract Four species of otters have been recorded from Malaysia and Singapore in the past: Lutra lutra (Common or Eurasian Otter), Lutra sumatrana (Hairy-nosed Otter), Lutrogale perspicillata (Smooth Otter) and Amblonyx cinereus (Oriental Small-clawed Otter). The case sparked a debate about whether more should be done to stop otters rampaging through the city, with a widely discussed letter in a local newspaper calling for air horns and rubber bullets to be used as deterrents. Most of Singapore´s otters are the smooth-coated variety, classified as "vulnerable". Did you know that wild otters are often sighted in Singapore? Interestingly, the branch of otters we now have in Singapore is believed to be a unique hybrid population—the result of an even union between both species, making it a surviving population that nearly went extinct. 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. "Rather than being focused on protecting ´territory´, we must find ways to coexist and thrive with our local flora and fauna," he wrote. Should you spot mistakes, inaccuracies, or have queries about our sources, please drop us an e-mail at Singapore has about 80 smooth-coated otters, also known as Lutrogale perspicillata - one of 13 otter species in the world. Group Bull. The animals enter their private but open ponds and feed on the expensive pet fish within, such as tilapia and koi. There are estimated to be about 90 otters in Singapore, making up 10 families, and appearances at popular tourist sites around the city-state´s downtown waterfront have transformed them into local celebrities. “Phylogeography of the Smooth-Coated Otter (Lutrogale Perspicillata): Distinct Evolutionary Lineages and Hybridization with the Asian Small-Clawed Otter (Aonyx Cinereus).” Scientific Reports 7 (January 27, 2017): 1–13. image caption There are two species of otter native to Singapore; the Bishan 10 are smooth-coated otters image copyright Rebecca Bailey image caption In … The otters have been heralded as a major success and they are the unofficial emblem of our city's successful re-greening efforts. Otter groups here told The New Paper that they get messages from fans across the globe asking where to find the animals if they were to visit Singapore. "Wild boars have never been encouraged to enter urban areas, neither should otters be just because they look cute," wrote Ong Junkai in the correspondence to the Straits Times, which triggered calls from some for a cull. Otter enthusiasts have also set up their own Facebook pages, such as Ottercity, to spot and track their movements. Actress-turned-entrepreneur Jazreel Low, who owns the spa, posted pictures on Facebook of fish parts scattered around the pond and lamented a "massacre". Group Bull. 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. 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 … Their diet consists of fish, frogs, crabs, turtles etc. The current WABA review is addressing this. Today there are otter families across the island, even in the heart of downtown Singapore. The most high-profile incident was a raid on a pond at a spa shuttered due to the pandemic. Cambridge International releases AS and A level results for Nov 2020 exams, Landslides kill at least 12 people in Indonesia, Pakistan women’s cricket squad clears COVID-19 tests before leaving for South Africa, Bioniks chief urges President Alvi to help subsidise prosthetic limbs for the underprivileged. Thankfully, several countries are concerned about stopping the trafficking of wild otters. However, the adorable small-clawed otters, smaller in size than their smooth-coated counterparts, have also been highly trafficked in Southeast Asia, according to a report by wildlife conservation organisation Traffic. We won't be giving details to protect it but we would like to share with you what an Asian Small-clawed Otter roaming Singapore looks like. “Wild Otters Are the Latest Exotic Pet Trend.” Animals, January 10, 2019. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for a concise roundup of our stories. The cuteness of wild otters has led to a spate of avid otter watching in Singapore. If there is less food around, otter families will split up into smaller packs to seek food. "When there´s restriction of movement, there´s less vehicles and there´s less people, so the urban space opens up," said N. Sivasothi, a biologist at the National University of Singapore known as "Otterman" due to his work on the animals. There are currently an estimated 10 families of otters in Singapore, numbering around 70 otters in total. Singapore has 2 species of otters, the Smooth-coated Otter and the very elusive Asian Small-clawed Otter. Accessed March 4, 2019. “Ottercity Facebook Page.” Ottercity Facebook Home. Few urbanites have seen an otter. 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 from a pond. adapting quickly to an urbanised landscape, 15 to 25 percent of their body weight each day, an angler was seen throwing rocks at otters. Smooth-Coated Otters in Singapore Sound Recording by Philip Johns. The Raffles banded langur is only found in Singapore’s Central Catchment Nature Reserve and in Johor (Malaysia); it feeds on leaves and fruits. Their diet usually reflects the diversity of fish species in the waters they inhabit, as well as the absence of predators. hello@kontinentalist.com. 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 otters´ more frequent forays onto the streets of Singapore are part of a global trend triggered by virus lockdowns, with animals increasingly slipping cover to explore the streets of some of the world´s biggest cities. (Oriental Small-clawed Otter). He also said many recent sightings were likely of the same family of smooth-coated otters, which have been searching for a new home along the city´s rivers. Theng, Meryl, and Sivasothi N. “The Smooth-Coated Otter Lutrogale Perspicillata (Mammalia: Mustelidae) in Singapore: Establishment and Expansion in Natural and Semi-Urban Environments.” IUCN/SCC Otter Specialist Group Bulletin 33 (January 1, 2016): 37–49. Yet in Singapore, the most urbanized country in the world, commuters … In Malay folklore, the mousedeer is witty enough to outsmart larger, more dangerous animals: In Malay folklore, the mousedeer is witty enough to outsmart larger, more dangerous animals: Accessed January 14, 2019. There is scant information on the sea otter, which is only found in the coastal waters of northern Japan. https://www.bfm.my/dr-philip-johns-smooth-coated-otters-singapore.html. In December 2017, a five-year-old girl on holiday in Singapore with her family was bitten by an otter near Gardens by the Bay. 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. Though education alone is not enough to change behaviours around our wildlife, several impassioned otter watchers have been volunteering their services to help new otter watchers stay mindful of their subjects—a heartening gesture. https://cdn-images.kontinentalist.com/kontinentalist-story-asset-1551411308.mp3. 35 (3): 171 - 182. Local scientist Meryl Theng who contributed to an international paper on the population movement of otters, brought this to light. 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 the 1990s as waterways were cleaned. http://www.otter.org/audioSamples/AsianSmallClawedOtter.mp3. 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. According to Sivasothi, otters are social species, and they almost always travel together in families. People are excited to see them especially in the urban jungle where sightings of wild animals are rare. The former is nocturnal and harder to spot, while the latter (above) is commonly spotted … The group was created in a bid to promote awareness and public education to protect of the now-native otters, as well as to mitigate potential increases in human–animal conflict. These sightings are of much delight to conservationists, as the presence of otters usually signals the health of the waters they are seen in. Singapore . While many think of tiny Singapore as a densely populated concrete jungle, it is also relatively green for a busy Asian city, and has patches of rainforest, fairly clean waterways and abundant wildlife. Group Bull. (Oriental Small-clawed Otter). For otters to continue thriving, they require adequate space to feed in, reproduce, dry their fur, and rest. SINGAPORE: Singapore's otters, long … Experiencing information fatigue? 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. Population Structure, Distribution, and Habitat Use of Smooth-Coated Otters Lutrogale perspicillata in Singapore . Khoo, M de Yuan and Sivasothi, N (2018)b. Singapore. This file photo shows members of a wild otter family called "Bishan10" in Singapore's Kallang Basin area. Encouraging good wildlife ethics, along with public involvement in research and monitoring of the species, helps the ongoing conservation and management of otters in Singapore. They are really cute," said Pam Wong, a 35-year-old Singaporean. Smooth-coated otters are not fussy eaters, and they tend to eat whatever is available where they are. IUCN Otter Spec. Otters are the subject of interest for many in Singapore, and a ground-up initiative to create a crowdsourced database on them—which you can add to!—has been completed. But the restored waters brought back an otter banquet: tilapia, catfish and all manner of exotic species, such as the yellow-hued Orinoco peacock bass. Housing one of the world’s largest collections of freshwater fauna, the park features over 6,000 animals including 40 threatened species. One of the first male otters sighted in the Marina Bay family was suspected to have been poisoned. From Sivasothi, 19951 The small-clawed otter is the smallest species of otter with a body length of about 0.9m, which is only slightly more than half the size of a smooth-coated otter. In Singapore, the Smooth‐coated otter Lutrogale perspicillata, a species listed as Critically Endangered in the Singapore Red Data Book (Davison et al., 2008) and Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Kathy writes marine and environmental stories at Kontinentalist. In-depth stories about Asia and more delivered straight to your inbox every month. These smallest of 13 otter species in the world are social and playful animals. IUCN Otter Spec. One of the few wildlife species well-adapted to urban environments, otters are popular enough in the Garden City to be featured in David Attenborough’s Wild City documentary about Singapore in 2015, as well as in BBC Earth’s Wild Cities in 2019. The two common species of otters in Singapore are the smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) and the small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus). "They probably realised that there was nobody there and became more daring," Low told entertainment news website 8 DAYS. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2019/01/wild-otters-popular-exotic-pets/. In July 2016, the 13th International Otter Symposium was held in Singapore for the first time. Today, a population of at least 60 hybrid otters exists in Singapore. There are two species of otters currently present here. The two common species of otters in Singapore are the. They include the larger and more common smooth-coated otter Lutrogale perspicillataand this species which is cat-sized when fully grown. Below are several diagnostic features that set them apart from other Asian species. “Distinguishing Features between Asian Small-Clawed Otters and Smooth-Coated Otters,” March 5, 2019. 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. Still, otter experts believe the anger is an overreaction and that the creatures are likely just enjoying the extra freedom to venture to new places. These otters are surprisingly intelligent, able to climb out of drains and travel across large patches of land to get to other waterways. Because of this, many otter species have suffered population declines throughout the world. That said, the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), an American environmental organisation with global reach, says that enforcement at the species level has not been carried out thoroughly. A few months later, in February 2018, an angler was seen throwing rocks at otters swimming by the Punggol Waterfront. India, Bangladesh, and the Philippines have submitted proposals for a ban on the international trade of Asian small-clawed otters and 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. Owing its name to its short, sleek fur, smooth-coated otters are one of the two otter species found in Singapore (the other being Aonyx cinerea). There are two species of otters here - … How do otters survive in a highly urbanised city state like Singapore? Singapore’s waterways today have enough marine life that otters can comfortably survive in them. Mp3. January 10, and 2019 Paul Todd. Hybridisation of smooth-coated otter males with Asian small-clawed otter females occurred in Singapore. Much of MNS’ knowledge on otters comes from operating the Kuala Selangor park for over 30 years, where three of the four otter species in Malaysia are kept. While Singapore is home to two species of otters — the smooth-coated otter and the small-clawed otter — only the former is popularly known and spotted across the island. It is a mammal, often spotted in our mangroves, mudflats and coastal areas, where it forages for clams, fish, and other small creatures. Four species of otters have been recorded from Malaysia and Singapore in the past: Lutra lutra (Common or Eurasian Otter), Lutra sumatrana (Hairy-nosed Otter), Lutrogale perspicillata (Smooth Otter) and Amblonyx cinereus (Oriental Small-clawed Otter). Accessed January 14, 2019. “Observations of the Variation in Group Structure of Two Urban Smooth-Coated Otter Lutrogale Perspicillata Groups in the Central Watershed of Singapore.” ResearchGate. The smooth-coated otter is currently classified as a critically endangered species in Singapore, and until 1998 there had been no reported sightings since the 1970s. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong weighed in on the debate Friday, posting a photo he took of otters before the lockdown on his Facebook account. Disclaimer: Our stories have been researched and fact-checked to the best of our abilities. When free, she enjoys being in the ocean, trying to spot some sharks or just home cuddling with her cavvie, Danea. Highly social creatures that move around in herds, otters do not take well to being sold as pets and kept individually. Let’s start with monkeys, though not the lunch stealing long tailed macaques. They featured in a documentary narrated by David Attenborough, are tracked avidly by the local media -- and have been spotted more frequently since people were asked to stay home and workplaces closed in April to fight the virus. In Sentosa Cove, a luxury district in an island off Singapore’s southern coast, residents have found the otters a problem. Otterwatch, another Facebook group focused on otters, was set up in 2012 by the National University of Singapore’s N. Sivasothi to help support several student projects with otters. Sea otters are the exception, giving birth in … “Asian Countries Propose Bans on Commercial Trade in Otters.” NRDC. Smooth-coated ones grow up to 1.2m long and 11kg in weight. Accessed February 28, 2019. Singapore has seen over 50 years of major road projects, from the PIE to the North-South Corridor. The small-clawed otter and smooth-coated otter can be found in Singapore. IUCN Otter Spec. Want to know the remaining 5 most threatened species in Singapore? Local scientist Meryl Theng who contributed to an international. An Otter Working Group was set up in Singapore, comprising researchers, conservationists, scientists, wildlife officers, and government institutions. Two otter species occur in Singapore. Accessed February 25, 2019. Though Singapore's landscape has rapidly urbanised over the past 50 years, the highly adaptable smooth-coated otter continues to exist and perhaps even thrive here, as sightings of it have increased over the last decade 12. Meanwhile, zoologist Chan Yik Khan said without historic data, it is hard to tell what led to … The Wild Animals and Birds Act (WABA) protects wildlife, but the law requires evidence of the act, which can make things difficult when preventive action is required. "I simply don´t understand anyone who could not like them. Although there was no known proof of actual rat poisoning, the otter died soon after in July 2017. 35 (3): 171 – 182 Key words: population census, urban adapter, mammal, conservation management, citizen science INTRODUCTION Of the four Asian species of otters, the Distribution of the otter families in Singapore (Data source: Khoo, M de Yuan and Sivasothi, N (2018)b. on the population movement of otters, brought this to light. https://www.discoverwildlife.com/animal-facts/mammals/otters-of-the-world/. Otters eat about 15 to 25 percent of their body weight each day. This species … Many of these enthusiasts have produced well-edited videos that vividly relay relatable stories about the otter populations in Singapore. Asian Small Clawed Otter Sound Clip, International Otter Survival Fund. http://www.otterspecialistgroup.org/Bulletin/Volume35/Vol35_Iss3_Index.html?fbclid=IwAR3ym9QO54h5_T3-kFltGZo0NhDFg-SDN82abyznrNRFXbc9tELFllIhYbY. Download the full report . Take a walk on the wild side in Singapore, and you will find that one of the most adaptable immigrant wildlife species has made the island’s waterway systems its home, booming in number over the years. 35 (3): 171 – 182). The creatures gobbled several fish including an arowana, a prized species that can sell for tens of thousands of dollars. The otters of Singapore have proven flexible in adapting quickly to an urbanised landscape, having had to cope with very little space to dry off their fur. … *Special thanks to the community of avid otter watchers of Singapore, which has been so helpful in providing us photos, information, and datasets for this story on their beloved otters. The emergence of the Bishan otter family, along with several other otter families, has been hailed by The Economist as a sign of the success of Singapore's greening policy. Singapore has two species of otters. October 19, 2020, 05:57 PM JJ Lin hosting YouTube live with celebrity friends on … Announcement 1 of 2: Night Safari is open every day from 19 Nov 2020 to 17 Jan 2021, as well as eve of and on public holidays. Most have not been sighted in typical otter habitats—often the wilder plots of nature in the country. “Otters of the World.” Discover Wildlife. Lone otters are typically males in search of a group, and the size of these groups varies according to what different environments can provide. There are four species of river otters in Asia: the smooth-coated otter, small-clawed otter, hairy-nosed otter, and Eurasian otter. In other incidents, a video showed a group charging into the lobby of a children´s hospital before being shooed away, and the creatures were also filmed frolicking in the empty streets outside a popular shopping centre. However, in Singapore, the Smooth-coated otter Lutro- gale perspicillata has made a tremendous rebound They are the more familiar ones here and have been … Fewer still have seen a “romp” of them. Previously, smooth-coated otters were mostly sighted in the mangroves, mudflats and coastal areas such as Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, … The Smooth-coated Otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) is the largest otter in Southeast Asia, and is named after its velvety smooth coat. 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. The NRDC has since been partnering with organisations around the world to put together a strong case for the ban. 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. Teo, Jeffrey. There are laws against the trapping and killing of otters in Singapore. 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. Survival Fund these smallest of 13 otter species in the portion of the otter soon! Our monthly newsletter for a concise roundup of our city 's successful re-greening efforts rat poisoning, group. Our sources, please drop us an e-mail at hello @ kontinentalist.com Sound Clip, international otter Survival.! Prized species that can sell for tens of thousands of dollars to a spate of avid otter in! Disclaimer: our stories of food need to thrive in Singapore’s waterways today have enough marine life that can! 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