Singapore’s otters, which are often adored for their slippy-sloppy antics have recently raised alarms over some daring activities the animals have shown with the city mostly in lockdown.
The animals have started to show up in unusual places of Singapore like shopping malls, as the city-state observes strict lockdown to contain the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. And some of their dos are a little too daring to adore.
Recently, they’ve been spotted sauntering through a hospital corridor and even hanging out on a shopping center. But a group of otters feasting over a thousand dollars fish from a spa pond has sparked outrage, Agence France Presse reports.
One of the most “high-profile incidents” by the newly endeared otters is that they broke into a pond of a spa and reportedly gobbled up exotic species of fish valuing tens of thousands of dollars. The spa is owned by actor-turned entrepreneur Jazreel Low.
“The otters killed all the fishes in the pond at Aramsa spa,” Low wrote on Facebook. She also posted images showing the creatures sauntering inside Aramsa- The Garden Spa. She posted the picture of the 13-years old 88-cm long Arowana. Reports suggest the otters ate over other 100 fishes from the pond.
A similar incident was reported in 2015 by Strait Times where otters devoured on more than $80,000 worth of ornamental Koi from a fish pond of a resort.
An estimated 90 otters live in the little city-state of Singapore. Despite its size, Singapore’s wildlife and urban greenery are one of the best in class. AFP notes just like the other parts of the world where wildlife is increasingly showing up on empty streets, the same is the case with otters in Singapore. They’re showing up more, thanks to the lockdown.
The new-found freedom of the otters was hotly discussed in local bulletins about whether they should be stopped from their unshackled forays into the cityscapes. Some discussions even went ahead to call for culls. While fans claimed their return must be commemorated.
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However, the spa-owner Jazreel Low does not want culls at all. “Otters are living beings as well, and I don’t feel right saying that they have to die because of this incident,” she said to local media 8days. She says killing the creatures won’t bring back the fishes and that she wants to co-exist with the otters.
“I simply don’t understand anyone who could not like them. They are really cute,” a Singapore local was quoted as saying. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong too agreed on a peaceful co-existence with the otters.
Otters of Singapore
50 years ago the scene of otters in the South-Asian metropolis was not like this. The smooth-coated otters, native to the area went on the brink of native-extinction, National Geographic reports. After the government’s efforts to clean the rivers in 1977 was accomplished, the otters began to return on their own by 1988.
Owing to lack of predators, and abundance of rich food resources there are 90 otters living in 10 families in Singapore. All smooth-coated variant. The otters are now adept at urban living, denning in between bridges and other places. They get a lot of adoration from people and the cheeky buddies have their own Facebook fan page called Ottercity, founded by photographer Jeffery Teo.
Singapore currently has 34k plus confirmed cases and 23 deaths. The lockdown is proving costly for the City-state’s tourist-heavy economy. The country is vouching to open the economy as soon as next month, if community transfer remains low, according to reports.
(Cover image courtesy of Ottercity via Facebook)