ACRES seeks to locate otter with fishing hook stuck near eye

The injured otter was spotted on Saturday evening (Apr 2) at the canal near Kallang Bahru road says the animal welfare group.
Channel NewsAsia 4 Apr 16;

SINGAPORE: The Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) has called on the public to help them find an otter with a fishing hook lodged near its eye. Otter expert Fast Snail shared photos of the injured creature on Facebook.


Photo: Yane Kang/Fast Snail's Facebook page

Responding to queries from Channel NewsAsia on Monday (Apr 4), the director of ACRES Wildlife Rescue Centre and Wildlife Crime Unit Anbarasi Boopal, said they were alerted to the incident on Saturday night. The member of the public who tipped them off had reportedly seen the affected otter at the canal near Kallang Bahru road at around 5.30pm.

"We are depending on the public on any further sightings and updates. We do not have any further sighting reports after that," said Ms Boopal.

“We hope that the hook comes off safely, as a rescue operation can be very stressful not only to the individual but also to the other otters from the family," she added.

Fast Snail said the otter injured is a second-generation member of the group of otters fondly referred to as Bishan 10, a nod to their frequent appearance at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. "Sadly, it's related to illegal fishing again," wrote Fast Snail.

Last month, Fast Snail alerted ACRES a case of another otter in the Marina Bay area entangled by a fishing line but the line later fell off the otter.

In October last year, an otter pup was ensnared by a hook after an illegal fisherman apparently lured them with his fishing line.

Said ACRES' Ms Boopal: "It is important to note the detrimental effects of illegal and irresponsible fishing in our rivers and waterbodies, resulting in suffering of our wildlife such as fish, monitor lizards, otters, turtles and more."

- CNA/ek


Otter pup free of fish hook but has small wound
Lydia Lam, My Paper AsiaOne 8 Apr 16;

THE otter pup that was spotted on Saturday with a fish hook in its eye is now free of the barb.

Facebook user Fast Snail, or Nick Soo, told My Paper yesterday that the pup had been spotted hook-free by about 10 otter watchers.

"We have no idea how the hook was removed," said the 34-year-old engineer, who photographs and takes videos of otters as a hobby.

"We believe it was pulled out by the otters themselves," he said.

However, Mr Soo added that the pup has a small wound that is "slightly swollen".

He said they will keep monitoring to make sure it is all right and thanked members of the public for tracking it.

The pup, believed to be four to five months' old, is part of a second litter born to two otters often spotted at Bi-shan-Ang Mo Kio Park. The family of 10 is affectionately called Bishan 10.

News of the injured pup broke when otter watcher Yane Kang, 40, snapped photos of the pup with the hook in its eye on Saturday evening.

The incident cast a spotlight on irresponsible anglers, some of whom fish illegally.

Last year, a man turned himself in to the police after a video Mr Soo had taken of him appearing to hook an otter with his fishing line went viral.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority did not take any enforcement action against him due to insufficient evidence. He was issued a fine for fishing in a prohibited area.

Fishing is not allowed at all waterways except Pang Sua Canal, a spokesman for national water agency PUB told The Straits Times in a report yesterday.

PUB issued about 400 summonses for illegal fishing last year. Fines of up to $3,000 can be issued to those caught fishing in unauthorised areas.

Anbarasi Boopal, deputy chief executive at animal welfare group Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres), said they "are relieved that the hook has come off the pup and very thankful to the otter watching community for the updates".

"We truly hope that there is increased awareness on the plight of wildlife who suffer from such illegal and irresponsible fishing activities in our waterways," she added.


Otter with fishing hook stuck near eye out of trouble
"We think we are fairly confident to say the fish-hook is off from the pup's eye,” says otter expert Fast Snail in a Facebook post.
Channel NewsAsia 8 Apr 16;

SINGAPORE: The otter that was reportedly seen with a fishing hook lodged near its eye is out of trouble, according to the latest update from otter expert Fast Snail.

“Having spent hours in cross-examining and analysis of visual records from many fellow enthusiasts, we think we are fairly confident to say the fish-hook is off from the pup's eye,” Fast Snail wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday (Apr 8).

“From submitted photos and videos, we could not tell if there's any infection (just swollen eye), but it seems like the pup is eating well and has been able to catch up with the rest of the family members,” the expert added.

The Animal Concerns Research and Education Society had earlier called on the public to help locate the injured otter.

This could have been the third instance of an otter injured as a result of illegal fishing in Singapore. Last month, another otter was spotted in the Marina Bay area entangled by a fishing line while in October 2015, an otter pup was ensnared by a hook after a man apparently lured them with his fishing line.

- CNA/xk

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