Marina otters move to Singapore River after losing their original home to rival Bishan family

Poor things.

By Zhangxin Zheng | April 11, 2017

It looks like the otter family at Marina Reservoir might be keen to make the Singapore River their new home.

According to OtterWatch, things have not been smooth sailing for the Marina otter family since they made Marina Reservoir their home in 2013.

Here’s a timeline on what has been going on for our furry friends:
– late 2013: A couple of them made Marina Reservoir their home
– 2014: Five pups were born to Marina otter family
– 2015: One pup went missing and another left the family
– 2015: Bishan otters came down via Kallang River, fought with Marina otter family and chased them away. Marina otter family moved to East Coast.
– 2016: New otters born into Marina otter family
– 2015 to 2016: Attempts were made by the Marina otter family to return to Marina Reservoir, but were thwarted by the Bishan otter family.

Why are the Marina otters so keen to return to Marina Reservoir?

OtterWatch explained that the busy East Coast crowd and the rough seas there might be push factors for the otters. They are generally shy and prefer to stay away from people.

The Marina otters wandered between the East Coast and Marina areas since 2015 in hopes of returning to their old home, where the water is calmer and food is abundant.

The Singapore River is a new safe haven for the Marina otters

Fortunately, an opportunity for the Marina otter family to sneak past the Bishan otters came up this year. They jumped at the chance and managed to move upstream of the Singapore River, while avoiding a confrontation with the Bishan otters.

Here is the Facebook post by OtterWatch:

Here are the general territories of the Bishan and Marina otters:

Visual representation edited from Google Maps

Some photographers have already caught the Marina otter family’s well-loved otter pup named Toby at their new Singapore River home:

As the Marina otter family gets comfortable in their new home, it is important for people to give our furry friends the space they need.

NParks’ advice on how to respect our wild otters:

1. DO NOT touch, chase or corner the otters. Observe them from a distance. Going too close to the otters may frighten them.

2. DO NOT talk loudly and do not use flash photography. Noise and light may scare and provoke the otters.

3.DO NOT feed the otters. The otters have their own food in the environment and their natural eating habits keep the ecosystem healthy.

4. DO NOT litter or leave sharp objects in the water. Clean and safe waterways filled with fish and aquatic life make good habitats for the otters to frolic and feed in.

5. DO keep your dog on a tight leash. Your dog might chase the otters and frighten them.

Top photo from OtterWatch

Related articles:

Super patient photographer shows what it takes to shoot S’pore otters up close & personal

These photos of S’pore otters getting tangled up in our litter should serve as an impetus to stop littering

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About Zhangxin Zheng

Zhangxin’s favourite pastime is singing Mulan’s soundtrack in the mangrove forests. She hopes to perfect the art of napping in a hammock in the mangroves without being drowned by rising sea levels.

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