Singapore

Otters cause chaos for Sentosa koi owners

Beware the (really expensive) fish killers?

It appears that otters have left a bloody trail of destruction involving the mutilated entrails of prized koi in Sentosa Cove.

A trail priced in tens of thousands of dollars.

One resident Maria Chandra, 51, told My Paper last week how otters had destroyed  $64,000 worth of her ornamental fish.

Her maid had alerted her to the scene at her Ocean Drive home.

The chewed remnants of the housewife's pet fish floated belly-up in the pond. Some had been killed outright, some were wounded and still flapping – though they were missing their tails.

According to Mrs Chandra she is not the only resident whose koi collection has suffered.

One worker at a Sentosa hotel said that it that lost the majority of its 200 koi in an attack. He added that the otters, believed to be a pair, struck at the dead of night.

They are believed to have entered from the beach.

Razor sharp: A baby otter displays its incisors while eating meatball at Dresden Zoo, Germany. PHOTO: AFP

Rasa Sentosa Resort and Spa had to relocate koi from its pond. A hotel spokesman declined to reveal the exact cost of the koi though a My Paper report suggests it is in the region of $20,000.

The prices are not surprising for Koi.

A single prize specimen with the right markings can cost up to $100,000.

But the semi-aquatic mammals are not cold-blooded killers specifically targeting expensive fish.

Wildlife rescue group Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) said it was normal for otters to prey on ornamental fish simply because of their availability.

Its wildlife manager Kalai Vanan Balakrishnan​ said:

“They can’t differentiate wild fish from koi and will go for the easier option.”

The  Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) told The Straits Times it has received feedback on only four occasions from people about otters preying on ornamental fish since the start of last year.

Otters can survive in both fresh and sea water. They have been known to thrive around mangroves, river mouths and natural shorelines. But they are adaptable and the increased appearances support the idea that Singapore's otter population is becoming increasingly used to the urban environment.

A pair of otters were spotted early last year at Gardens By The Bay and were said to have raised five pups.

Then, in October 2014, there was one iconic, if slightly gruesome, picture of an otter feasting on a fish in Singapore Botanic Gardens' Swan Lake.

Otters have become an increasingly common sight at the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, Pasir Ris Park and the Punggol Waterway.

They have attracted many fans. Even the Prime Minister was pleased to see them.

PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ LEE HSIEN LOONG

The mammals were first spotted in Sentosa Cove late last year..

Not everyone was sympathetic to the koi owners' plights though. Wendy Cheng aka blogger Xiaxue tweeted her response.

PHOTO: TWITTER/ @XIAXUE

Sources: The Straits Times, My Paper, AFP


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otterssentosaUncategorisedornamental fishMurderfresh catch