Singapore

Bishan otter family mother found injured at Marina Bay

A female otter, believed to be the mother of the popular Bishan otters, was spotted with a fishing line and hook lodged in its body yesterday morning, just two days after a sighting of a new litter of otter pups.

Retiree Patrick Ng, 60, an otter enthusiast, told The Straits Times that he spotted the hook and line when reviewing videos he had taken at Marina Bay's floating platform at about 9am.

"I was just shooting them on video and didn't realise it at the time, but when I went home and viewed it, I noticed some strings sticking out," he said.

He added that he noticed "a lot of anglers" when the otters were swimming to the floating platform and believes that was how the female otter got hooked.

Mr Ng has been monitoring the otters almost daily for a year during his cycling trips in the Marina Bay area.

Last May, he saved Toby, an otter pup, who was then six weeks old, from a canal.

A month earlier, an otter pup was spotted with a fish hook in its eye.

It recovered from the wound without any external help, but the incident roused the anger of animal lovers, who criticised "irresponsible anglers".

On the Facebook page OtterWatch, netizens expressed concern for the injured otter spotted by Mr Ng.

Facebook user Joo Kek said that he hoped PUB would take "illegal fishing at Marina Bay seriously".

Another otter watcher, 45-year-old Jeffery Teo, who works in the financial services industry, said there were anglers photographed at the scene, where "No Fishing" signs have been put up.

"All the signs are erected, but nobody seems to be enforcing it especially on the weekends," he said. "It took decades for our native otters to finally return, if we are not mindful, we may not get a second chance."

PUB in 2015 issued about 400 summonses for illegal fishing and an average of 500 in 2014 and the year before.

Ms Anbarasi Boopal, deputy chief executive of the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society, said that it "is sad to see a wild animal being affected again through irresponsible recreational activities".

animal abuseotterMarina Bay