Love blossoms between a Bishan female otter and a Marina male otter despite territorial rivalry

The beginnings of our very own Singaporean Romeo and Juliet story.

Zhangxin Zheng | May 3, 2017 @ 12:55 pm

There is a beautiful twist to the ongoing territorial rivalry between the Bishan otters and the Marina otters.

According to local otter-loving community OtterWatch on Saturday, Apr. 30, two otters found love despite their warring families — a fascinating parallel to that of the Montagues and Capulets.

Apparently, one male from the Marina family has been trying to befriend the young Bishan otters by sneaking visits to them whenever their parents are away. Eventually, the young Bishan pups “accepted his friend request”, and this fellow even found a girlfriend — a female otter from the Bishan clan — who appears to have left her family and eloped with the brave male recently.

Here’s the post, in case you can’t see it:

[Forbidden Love]
Occasionally, we will see another lone otter (adult male) in Marina reservoir – he was originally from Marina family but he dispersed (fission-fusion) from family a few years back, and still using Marina reservoir and East Coast as his home range. And he is in LOVE with one of Bishan female.

Most readers and otter fans would know by now that the 2 otter families living in Heart of city, Bishan and Marina families, have a Long history and are not best friends.

For the longest time, this marina lone otter was trying to be friendly with some Bishan subadults, he would often stalk the Bishan family from far and carefully approach the smaller group only when Bishan parents are not around. Eventually, he got accepted by some subadults and also found his love among them – All without approval by Bishan parents. The secret date went on for many months – with expected usual scene like popular Korea-Love-drama, boy sent girl home but dared not go near; parents and other siblings came chasing the boy away; boy always hide in far corner to look at the Bishan group to see his love from far.

Lately, we noticed that Bishan 13 has become Bishan 12 – an otter has left the family. Bishan otter girl may have eloped with her boy friend.

This is a developing story. Watch this space.

In photo – Bishan otter sniffing Marina lone.

However, things are not going to be easy for this young couple. Their next task now is to find and establish a new home that must lie outside of the territories marked by the Marina and Bishan otter families.

OtterWatch explains this in one of its comments to its Facebook post:

Due to their territorial nature, they are unlikely to tolerate existence of more families in their home range. We observed this through other families in Singapore e.g. Changi/pasir Ris otters are likely a sub-family branding out of Punggol otters. They do sometimes hangout together but they predominantly live separately in different locations.

It is possible the pair may go further upstream to lower Pierce Reservoir. While this place also belongs to Bishan family but they are hardly there now due to major Braddell canal construction diverting the river.

Check back on Otterwatch FB where we do have fans posting their regular sightings of otter whereabouts.

The family background of the two loving otters might be comparable to Romeo and Juliet, but we hope the young couple will not end in the same way, as they work toward starting a family of their own.

Unrelated article:

We cycled through 700 years of Singapore history just to write this article


Unrelated video:

Top photo courtesy of OtterWatch

Related articles:

Another Bishan otter stuck with fishing hook in its paw, this time at Marina Bay

Otter newborns take swimming lessons, struggle to take the plunge

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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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