‘Slippery, hungry and sometimes angry’, Singapore’s outnumbered otters

They are to Singapore what foxes are to London: otters, although they correspond in the collective imagination to friendly aquatic animals, have become very difficult for the city-state to manage. Their population “more than doubled since 2019”report The Guardian. No less than seventeen different families of this species of mustelids “fish tilapia in waterholes, sleep under bridges and devastate ponds deprived of fish”, says the British daily. On rare occasions, otters have even attacked humans in parks.

At the end of 2021, a British national had told daily The Times of the Strait to have been bitten “26 times in ten seconds” by a group of about twenty otters during a walk in the botanical gardens of the city. “I thought I was going to die”he had named in the newspaper.

On a less dramatic note, some otters have also been talked about for blocking traffic, as was the case in March in front of the presidential palace, shows this video of the BBC.

Koi carp plunders

Today, “there is no longer a single place in Singapore where you do not find otters”explains N Sivasothi, a biology researcher at the National University of Singapore, who dubs himself “the otter man” on his Instagram account.

In mid-October, the authorities moved for the first time a family of smooth-coated otters comprising six individuals, in order to settle it “in an undisclosed area” located in the northeast of the city, in the Seletar district, concerns the Singaporean television channel CNA. Specialists feared that these otters would become aggressive with humans because the female had settled too close to a desired path to give birth to a litter. This family of otters, complete The Guardian, “had in recent months indulged in private properties to plunder fish from ponds, attacking up to ten houses in a single night”.

In the fall of 2021, Initiated already devoted a detailed report to this phenomenon, titling “Singapore is terrified of a growing population of adorable otters, who have devoured thousands of dollars worth of expensive koi carp”. And the American media to note:

“Desolation, destruction and fish carcasses are what they leave in their wake.”

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