Acres and otter watchers looking into rescue of injured otter

Channel NewsAsia 30 Oct 17;

SINGAPORE: An injured otter with a deep cut on its back was found swimming in a canal in Pasir Ris Park on Monday (Oct 30) by a park visitor.

Photos posted by Mr Abel Yeo in OtterWatch, a Facebook group for otter enthusiasts, show a pink wound running across the young pup's back and down its sides.

Mr Yeo described the wound as "deep" but said that it "did not seem infected".

It is believed that a thick wire had got entangled around the otter's body, according to the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES).

"The wire got embedded in the skin of the otter. We are not sure how this happened," Kalai Vanan, deputy chief executive of ACRES told Channel NewsAsia.

Despite the injury, Mr Yeo said that the otter was swimming and eating well.

However, Mr Yeo felt that the otter needs help soon as he had already learned about the injured pup a week ago through OtterWatch.

"I did feel sad seeing the otter and I was hoping that something could be done and thought that immediate action needed to be taken," Mr Yeo told Channel NewsAsia, adding that he contacted OtterWatch and the National Parks Board immediately.

ACRES said that they were alerted to the injured otter about a week ago. Since then, ACRES has been looking into rescue methods to find the pup for a closer inspection and to hand it over to Wildlife Reserves Singapore for treatment.

With new information from Mr Yeo, OtterWatch and ACRES are now on the look out for the hurt animal.

Foul play has not been ruled out yet, according to ACRES.

"We are aware of illegal poaching activities where poachers leave noose snares and other traps to trap wild animals like wild boars and monitor lizards so we can't rule out foul play yet," said Mr Kalai.

While injured otters are rare in Singapore, adapting to the urban environment can pose a threat to the otters, especially as they deal with fishing lines from illegal fishing, illegal traps and snares, added Mr Kalai.

Members of the public are urged to take a photo, note the location and forward the information to OtterWatch or ACRES if they spot an injured otter.

Injured otter with metal wire wrapped around body spotted at Pasir Ris Park
The otter pup, which was born around February or March this year, is part of a family of nine or 10 that is known as the Changi family.
Lydia Lam Straits Times 30 Oct 17;

SINGAPORE - An otter pup has been spotted at Pasir Ris Park with a deep cut on its torso from what appears to be a wire around its body, with the Otter Working Group planning an intervention this week.

A photo of the otter, with what seems to be a metal wire around its body, was posted on the OtterWatch Facebook page by Abel Yeo on Monday (Oct 30).

The area around the wound showed pink, exposed flesh.

Mr Yeo said he watched the pup for half an hour and it was still swimming and eating well.

Veteran otter watcher Jeffery Teo, who is part of the Otter Working Group, told The Straits Times that the group received reports of sightings of this injured pup about two weeks ago, but this was the first up-close look.

Along with the Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (Acres) and other agencies, the group plans to track the otter and intervene this week.

Mr Teo did not elaborate on what actions would be taken, as the group is still making plans.

The pup, which was born around February or March this year, is part of a family of nine or 10 that is known as the Changi family. They frequent areas such as Pasir Ris and Lorong Halus and are more wary of humans compared with the popular Bishan family.

On Facebook, some speculated the wire seen around the pup's body could be a fishing line, but Mr Teo said: "We don't know what it is. It looks like a metal wire."

Fellow otter watcher Nick Soo shared the post on Facebook, asking for information.

A veterinary pathologist at Wildlife Reserves Singapore, Mr Chia-Da Hsu, left a comment saying the pup could "die due to septicemia (a bloodstream infection) or the band cut into the belly".

However, he added that it would be dangerous to remove the pup from the group, and it would be hard to return him to the family.

The Otter Working Group is a volunteer group set up with several government agencies including the National Parks Board, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority and PUB last year.

In June this year, a dead otter was found in a cage along the Marina Promenade, and a man was caught setting traps in the area that same day.