Two otter families in Singapore got into an epic gang fight in the portion of the canal that cuts through Braddell near Bishan. Group Bull. Many of these enthusiasts have produced well-edited videos that vividly relay relatable stories about the otter populations in Singapore. Smooth-coated ones grow up to 1.2m long and 11kg in weight. 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. Announcement 1 of 4: Night Safari is open every day from 19 Nov 2020 to 17 Jan 2021, as well as eve of and on public holidays. "Rather than being focused on protecting ´territory´, we must find ways to coexist and thrive with our local flora and fauna," he wrote. Kathy writes marine and environmental stories at Kontinentalist. 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 … on the population movement of otters, brought this to light. Critically, the fish species that otters rely on as sources of food need to thrive in Singapore’s waterways for the otters to remain. 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. This species of lesser mouse-deer is unique to Singapore, but don’t be surprised if you don’t see it. 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. 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. Asian Small Clawed Otter Sound Clip, International Otter Survival Fund. Khoo, M de Yuan and Sivasothi, N (2018)b. Few urbanites have seen an otter. The two common species of otters in Singapore are the smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) and the small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus). Today there are otter families across the island, even in the heart of downtown Singapore. The small-clawed otter and smooth-coated otter can be found in Singapore. 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. IUCN Otter Spec. The otters have been heralded as a major success and they are the unofficial emblem of our city's successful re-greening efforts. Accessed March 4, 2019. “Ottercity Facebook Page.” Ottercity Facebook Home. Two otter species occur in Singapore. Singapore has about 80 smooth-coated otters, also known as Lutrogale perspicillata - one of 13 otter species in the world. “Asian Countries Propose Bans on Commercial Trade in Otters.” NRDC. Local scientist Meryl Theng who contributed to an international paper on the population movement of otters, brought this to light. https://www.nrdc.org/experts/paul-todd/asian-countries-propose-bans-commercial-trade-otters. Because of this, many otter species have suffered population declines throughout the world. They are the more familiar ones here and have been … 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. The smooth-coated otters are believed to have swum across the Johor Straits from Malaysia to the north side of Singapore in 1998, before deciding to make the island their home. 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. 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. Thanks to the Singapore River clean up in 1977, its ecological conditions and biodiversity have proven ideal for supporting otters—a far cry from our once oxygen-starved waterways. The Raffles banded langur is only found in Singapore’s Central Catchment Nature Reserve and in Johor (Malaysia); it feeds on leaves and fruits. 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. There are two species of otters in SG – smooth-coated otters and Asian small-clawed otters. The animals enter their private but open ponds and feed on the expensive pet fish within, such as tilapia and koi. 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. They are the more familiar ones here and have been … 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. 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. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2019/01/wild-otters-popular-exotic-pets/. The Smooth-coated Otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) is the largest otter in Southeast Asia, and is named after its velvety smooth coat. Yet in Singapore, the most urbanized country in the world, commuters … https://cdn-images.kontinentalist.com/kontinentalist-story-asset-1551411308.mp3. (Oriental Small-clawed Otter). Download the full report . Group Bull. This lets citizens help scientific researchers monitor otter behaviours, encouraging citizens to become more invested in Singapore’s wildlife and, hopefully, learn more about the country’s environmental policies. 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). October 19, 2020, 05:57 PM JJ Lin hosting YouTube live with celebrity friends on … "I simply don´t understand anyone who could not like them. 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. “Wild Otters Are the Latest Exotic Pet Trend.” Animals, January 10, 2019. Population Structure, Distribution, and Habitat Use of Smooth-Coated Otters Lutrogale perspicillata in Singapore . 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. These otters are surprisingly intelligent, able to climb out of drains and travel across large patches of land to get to other waterways. They are really cute," said Pam Wong, a 35-year-old Singaporean. 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. ). 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. Accessed January 14, 2019. Thankfully, several countries are concerned about stopping the trafficking of wild otters. 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: The former is nocturnal and harder to spot, while the latter (above) is commonly spotted … 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. 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. In Sentosa Cove, a luxury district in an island off Singapore’s southern coast, residents have found the otters a problem. Accessed March 6, 2019. Smooth-coated ones grow up to 1.2m long and 11kg in weight. 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. Actress-turned-entrepreneur Jazreel Low, who owns the spa, posted pictures on Facebook of fish parts scattered around the pond and lamented a "massacre". https://www.bfm.my/dr-philip-johns-smooth-coated-otters-singapore.html. Meanwhile, zoologist Chan Yik Khan said without historic data, it is hard to tell what led to … Previously, smooth-coated otters were mostly sighted in the mangroves, mudflats and coastal areas such as Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, … Singapore has two species of otters. Singapore has 2 species of otters, the Smooth-coated Otter and the very elusive Asian Small-clawed Otter. Their diet usually reflects the diversity of fish species in the waters they inhabit, as well as the absence of predators. 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. Accessed February 28, 2019. The NRDC has since been partnering with organisations around the world to put together a strong case for the ban. Fewer still have seen a “romp” of them. 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. The two common species of otters in Singapore are the. 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. If there is less food around, otter families will split up into smaller packs to seek food. Moretti, Beatrice, Omar F Al-Sheikhly, Monica Guerrini, Meryl Theng, Brij K Gupta, Mukhtar K Haba, Waseem Khan, Aleem Khan, and Filippo Barbanera. 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. The resulting offspring and their descendants bred back into the smooth-coated otter population, but maintained the genes of their small-clawed otter ancestors. This species … (Oriental Small-clawed Otter). 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. 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. 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). *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. SINGAPORE: Singapore's otters, long … Housing one of the world’s largest collections of freshwater fauna, the park features over 6,000 animals including 40 threatened species. However, in Singapore, the Smooth-coated otter Lutro- gale perspicillata has made a tremendous rebound By 2014, the otter population had expanded to the west and south coasts of Singapore, and the current population had begun breeding by 2015. 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. Did you know that wild otters are often sighted in Singapore? Most of Singapore´s otters are the smooth-coated variety, classified as "vulnerable". Singapore has seen over 50 years of major road projects, from the PIE to the North-South Corridor. There are laws against the trapping and killing of otters in Singapore. Accessed March 1, 2019. Today, a population of at least 60 hybrid otters exists in Singapore. Only 40 to 60 remain – the main problem is loss of habitat and food with many of its food species also endangered. For National University of Singapore biologist Sivasothi N, the arrival of the Singapore otter—and its popularity among residents—is a welcome development. 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. 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. "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. "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. With local communities, the group monitors otter populations and movement in Singapore to resolve issues and protect the species. hello@kontinentalist.com. Otter enthusiasts have also set up their own Facebook pages, such as Ottercity, to spot and track their movements. 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. 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. The creatures gobbled several fish including an arowana, a prized species that can sell for tens of thousands of dollars. India, Bangladesh, and the Philippines have submitted proposals for a ban on the international trade of Asian small-clawed otters and smooth-coated otters. 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. One of the first male otters sighted in the Marina Bay family was suspected to have been poisoned. Most have not been sighted in typical otter habitats—often the wilder plots of nature in the country. Teo, Jeffrey. These smallest of 13 otter species in the world are social and playful animals. IUCN Otter Spec. Below are several diagnostic features that set them apart from other Asian species. How do otters survive in a highly urbanised city state like Singapore? 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. Academics like assistant professor Philip Johns of Yale–NUS College’s Life Sciences Department are also looking to encourage citizen science by building a mobile app that allows anyone to easily upload high quality videos of the otters from their mobile phones. Let’s start with monkeys, though not the lunch stealing long tailed macaques. “Otters of the World.” Discover Wildlife. 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. 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. Mp3. In-depth stories about Asia and more delivered straight to your inbox every month. There are currently an estimated 10 families of otters in Singapore, numbering around 70 otters in total. Want to know the remaining 5 most threatened species in Singapore? She was history-trained but does other things now instead, like running an ecotourism shark conservation business, The Dorsal Effect. 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. 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. The two common species of otters in Singapore are the smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) and the small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus). 35 (3): 171 – 182). Singapore’s waterways today have enough marine life that otters can comfortably survive in them. 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. 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. http://www.otter.org/audioSamples/AsianSmallClawedOtter.mp3. 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 two species of otters here - … 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. For otters to continue thriving, they require adequate space to feed in, reproduce, dry their fur, and rest. It is a mammal, often spotted in our mangroves, mudflats and coastal areas, where it forages for clams, fish, and other small creatures. Most otter species come ashore to give birth in dens, which sometimes have been used by other animals such as beavers. Mp3. 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 Singapore. 35 (3): 171 - 182. These sightings are of much delight to conservationists, as the presence of otters usually signals the health of the waters they are seen in. Smooth-Coated Otters in Singapore Sound Recording by Philip Johns. Sea otters are the exception, giving birth in … A few months later, in February 2018, an angler was seen throwing rocks at otters swimming by the Punggol Waterfront. http://www.otter.org/Public/AboutOtters_OtterSpecies.aspx. The current WABA review is addressing this. 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. “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. There are two species of otters currently present here. This file photo shows members of a wild otter family called "Bishan10" in Singapore's Kallang Basin area. 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. Although there can be overlaps in size with the cubs of larger specie… Although there was no known proof of actual rat poisoning, the otter died soon after in July 2017. According to Sivasothi, otters are social species, and they almost always travel together in families. There is scant information on the sea otter, which is only found in the coastal waters of northern Japan. NUS´s Sivasothi criticised calls for a cull as "quite an uneducated response", and said such a move would be ineffective. 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. 35 (3): 171 – 182 Key words: population census, urban adapter, mammal, conservation management, citizen science INTRODUCTION Of the four Asian species of otters, the 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. An Otter Working Group was set up in Singapore, comprising researchers, conservationists, scientists, wildlife officers, and government institutions. http://www.otterspecialistgroup.org/Bulletin/Volume35/Vol35_Iss3_Index.html?fbclid=IwAR3ym9QO54h5_T3-kFltGZo0NhDFg-SDN82abyznrNRFXbc9tELFllIhYbY. 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. 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