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. The two common species of otters in Singapore are the smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) and the small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus). This species of lesser mouse-deer is unique to Singapore, but don’t be surprised if you don’t see it. Accessed February 25, 2019. The otters have been heralded as a major success and they are the unofficial emblem of our city's successful re-greening efforts. 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. 35 (3): 171 – 182). 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. Teo, Jeffrey. 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. 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. 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. A few months later, in February 2018, an angler was seen throwing rocks at otters swimming by the Punggol Waterfront. Singapore has two species of otters. Few urbanites have seen an otter. 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. 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. “Distinguishing Features between Asian Small-Clawed Otters and Smooth-Coated Otters,” March 5, 2019. … Accessed March 6, 2019. There are two species of otters in SG – smooth-coated otters and Asian small-clawed otters. The Raffles banded langur is only found in Singapore’s Central Catchment Nature Reserve and in Johor (Malaysia); it feeds on leaves and fruits. Group Bull. 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. 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. According to Sivasothi, otters are social species, and they almost always travel together in families. Two otter species occur in Singapore. 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. Critically, the fish species that otters rely on as sources of food need to thrive in Singapore’s waterways for the otters to remain. Experiencing information fatigue? https://www.discoverwildlife.com/animal-facts/mammals/otters-of-the-world/. 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. Let’s start with monkeys, though not the lunch stealing long tailed macaques. They include the larger and more common smooth-coated otter Lutrogale perspicillataand this species which is cat-sized when fully grown. Asian Small Clawed Otter Sound Clip, International Otter Survival Fund. 35 (3): 171 - 182. The Smooth-coated Otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) is the largest otter in Southeast Asia, and is named after its velvety smooth coat. 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. An Otter Working Group was set up in Singapore, comprising researchers, conservationists, scientists, wildlife officers, and government institutions. IUCN Otter Spec. For otters to continue thriving, they require adequate space to feed in, reproduce, dry their fur, and rest. 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. SINGAPORE: Singapore's otters, long … Singapore has two species of otters. For National University of Singapore biologist Sivasothi N, the arrival of the Singapore otter—and its popularity among residents—is a welcome development. 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 small-clawed otter and smooth-coated otter can be found 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. The NRDC has since been partnering with organisations around the world to put together a strong case for the ban. By 2014, the otter population had expanded to the west and south coasts of Singapore, and the current population had begun breeding by 2015. “Otters of the World.” Discover Wildlife. This file photo shows members of a wild otter family called "Bishan10" in Singapore's Kallang Basin area. Two otter families in Singapore got into an epic gang fight in the portion of the canal that cuts through Braddell near Bishan. 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. Today there are otter families across the island, even in the heart of downtown Singapore. Below are several diagnostic features that set them apart from other Asian species. 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. 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). Most otter species come ashore to give birth in dens, which sometimes have been used by other animals such as beavers. Their diet usually reflects the diversity of fish species in the waters they inhabit, as well as the absence of predators. ). IUCN Otter Spec. The cuteness of wild otters has led to a spate of avid otter watching in 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. They are really cute," said Pam Wong, a 35-year-old Singaporean. 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. “Wild Otters Are the Latest Exotic Pet Trend.” Animals, January 10, 2019. “Asian Countries Propose Bans on Commercial Trade in Otters.” NRDC. Population Structure, Distribution, and Habitat Use of Smooth-Coated Otters Lutrogale perspicillata in Singapore . Singapore has about 80 smooth-coated otters, also known as Lutrogale perspicillata - one of 13 otter species in the world. 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. Singapore . "I simply don´t understand anyone who could not like them. The resulting offspring and their descendants bred back into the smooth-coated otter population, but maintained the genes of their small-clawed otter ancestors. Singapore’s waterways today have enough marine life that otters can comfortably survive in them. Smooth-Coated Otters in Singapore Sound Recording by Philip Johns. 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. 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. The current WABA review is addressing this. However, in Singapore, the Smooth-coated otter Lutro- gale perspicillata has made a tremendous rebound But their newfound freedoms appear to have emboldened the otters, and they are now facing a backlash. 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. "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. Smooth-coated ones grow up to 1.2m long and 11kg in weight. (Oriental Small-clawed Otter). Thankfully, several countries are concerned about stopping the trafficking of wild otters. The two common species of otters in Singapore are the smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) and the small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus). The two common species of otters in Singapore are the. Hybridisation of smooth-coated otter males with Asian small-clawed otter females occurred in Singapore. Yet in Singapore, the most urbanized country in the world, commuters … Sea otters are the exception, giving birth in … 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. “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. hello@kontinentalist.com. Moretti, Beatrice, Omar F Al-Sheikhly, Monica Guerrini, Meryl Theng, Brij K Gupta, Mukhtar K Haba, Waseem Khan, Aleem Khan, and Filippo Barbanera. Although there can be overlaps in size with the cubs of larger specie… 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. 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. In July 2016, the 13th International Otter Symposium was held in Singapore for the first time. When free, she enjoys being in the ocean, trying to spot some sharks or just home cuddling with her cavvie, Danea. 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 … Kathy writes marine and environmental stories at Kontinentalist. These smallest of 13 otter species in the world are social and playful animals. “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. “IUCN/SSC Otter Specialist Group Bulletin Volume 35 Issue 3 (2018).” Accessed January 14, 2019. 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. https://cdn-images.kontinentalist.com/kontinentalist-story-asset-1551411308.mp3. 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. With local communities, the group monitors otter populations and movement in Singapore to resolve issues and protect the species. 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. There is scant information on the sea otter, which is only found in the coastal waters of northern Japan. Accessed March 4, 2019. “Ottercity Facebook Page.” Ottercity Facebook Home. 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. https://www.nrdc.org/experts/paul-todd/asian-countries-propose-bans-commercial-trade-otters. 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. Singapore has 2 species of otters, the Smooth-coated Otter and the very elusive Asian Small-clawed Otter. India, Bangladesh, and the Philippines have submitted proposals for a ban on the international trade of Asian small-clawed otters and smooth-coated otters. 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. There are two species of otters here - … Their diet consists of fish, frogs, crabs, turtles etc. 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 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. These sightings are of much delight to conservationists, as the presence of otters usually signals the health of the waters they are seen in. 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. Did you know that wild otters are often sighted in Singapore? 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. Otters eat about 15 to 25 percent of their body weight each day. Local scientist Meryl Theng who contributed to an international. https://www.bfm.my/dr-philip-johns-smooth-coated-otters-singapore.html. The former is nocturnal and harder to spot, while the latter (above) is commonly spotted … (Oriental Small-clawed Otter). Many of these enthusiasts have produced well-edited videos that vividly relay relatable stories about the otter populations in Singapore. They are the more familiar ones here and have been … 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. 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: 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. One of the first male otters sighted in the Marina Bay family was suspected to have been poisoned. Disclaimer: Our stories have been researched and fact-checked to the best of our abilities. Mp3. NUS´s Sivasothi criticised calls for a cull as "quite an uneducated response", and said such a move would be ineffective. 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. There are laws against the trapping and killing of otters in Singapore. There are two species of otters currently present here. How do otters survive in a highly urbanised city state like Singapore? Download the full report . 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. Although there was no known proof of actual rat poisoning, the otter died soon after in July 2017. adapting quickly to an urbanised landscape, 15 to 25 percent of their body weight each day, an angler was seen throwing rocks at otters. She was history-trained but does other things now instead, like running an ecotourism shark conservation business, The Dorsal Effect. on the population movement of otters, brought this to light. The most high-profile incident was a raid on a pond at a spa shuttered due to the pandemic. If there is less food around, otter families will split up into smaller packs to seek food. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2019/01/wild-otters-popular-exotic-pets/. Previously, smooth-coated otters were mostly sighted in the mangroves, mudflats and coastal areas such as Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, … http://www.otter.org/Public/AboutOtters_OtterSpecies.aspx. People are excited to see them especially in the urban jungle where sightings of wild animals are rare. They are the more familiar ones here and have been … http://www.otterspecialistgroup.org/Bulletin/Volume35/Vol35_Iss3_Index.html?fbclid=IwAR3ym9QO54h5_T3-kFltGZo0NhDFg-SDN82abyznrNRFXbc9tELFllIhYbY. Because of this, many otter species have suffered population declines throughout the world. 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. Should you spot mistakes, inaccuracies, or have queries about our sources, please drop us an e-mail at 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. Group Bull. 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). 35 (3): 171 – 182 Key words: population census, urban adapter, mammal, conservation management, citizen science INTRODUCTION Of the four Asian species of otters, the Smooth-coated ones grow up to 1.2m long and 11kg in weight. Actress-turned-entrepreneur Jazreel Low, who owns the spa, posted pictures on Facebook of fish parts scattered around the pond and lamented a "massacre". 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. Today, a population of at least 60 hybrid otters exists in Singapore. Most of Singapore´s otters are the smooth-coated variety, classified as "vulnerable". Khoo, M de Yuan and Sivasothi, N (2018)b. IUCN Otter Spec. 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. 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. 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. January 10, and 2019 Paul Todd. Smooth-coated otters are not fussy eaters, and they tend to eat whatever is available where they are. 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. 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. October 19, 2020, 05:57 PM JJ Lin hosting YouTube live with celebrity friends on … Local scientist Meryl Theng who contributed to an international paper on the population movement of otters, brought this to light. These otters are surprisingly intelligent, able to climb out of drains and travel across large patches of land to get to other waterways. Accessed January 14, 2019. Population Structure, Distribution, and Habitat Use of Smooth-Coated Otters Lutrogale perspicillata in Singapore . *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. 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 … Otter enthusiasts have also set up their own Facebook pages, such as Ottercity, to spot and track their movements. 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. Only 40 to 60 remain – the main problem is loss of habitat and food with many of its food species also endangered. Distribution of the otter families in Singapore (Data source: Khoo, M de Yuan and Sivasothi, N (2018)b. 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. It is a mammal, often spotted in our mangroves, mudflats and coastal areas, where it forages for clams, fish, and other small creatures. 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. Mp3. Group Bull. In Sentosa Cove, a luxury district in an island off Singapore’s southern coast, residents have found the otters a problem. "They probably realised that there was nobody there and became more daring," Low told entertainment news website 8 DAYS. Fewer still have seen a “romp” of them. This species … 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. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for a concise roundup of our stories. Accessed February 28, 2019. 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 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. 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.