Netflix docuseries features S'pore's otters as perfect example of human-wildlife coexistence

Proud of our tiny city's wildlife.

Ashley Tan| March 09, 09:55 AM

Singapore might be known for its towering skyscrapers, modernity and fancy tourist attractions.

The small city's wildlife though, is not something to be understated.

Cities and their impact on wildlife

Otters are just one of the country's numerous animal species. They're cute, furry and beloved by Singaporeans.

And they have once again put Singapore on the map, this time in the form of a Netflix documentary series titled Night on Earth.

The documentary follows nocturnal animals and their unique shenanigans under the cover of darkness, filmed using state of the art night vision cameras and thermal technology.

It's in Episode 5 of the show, "Sleepless cities", where narrator Samira Wiley—Orange is the New Black actress—touches on the impact of urban development on wildlife.

The episode features shots of elephants in Africa crossing busy cities at night because the towns are built on their annual migratory path and leopards preying on livestock and stray dogs in Mumbai, India.

Wiley explains how these animals' behaviour and hunting habits have been altered due to the presence of humans—bears are choosing to forage through trash for food and terrapins are travelling even further away from water sources in search good nesting grounds because of noise and light pollution.

Singapore's otters featured

It's only towards the end of the episode though, that Singapore's well known otters appear.

Wiley says that wild smooth-coated otters living in urban areas, like the ones in Singapore, typically become active only at night to avoid humans.

The ones in Singapore however, are active throughout the day.

Wiley says:

"Incredibly, when most urban otters would be heading into hiding, these ones are still out and about.

Singapore one of "most wildlife-friendly cities"

In Night on Earth, we see the otters gambolling around Gardens By The Bay after dark.

Photo screenshot from Netflix

And having sand baths in the day too.

Photo screenshot from Netflix

The show expounds on the city's ability to maintain harmony between humans and wildlife, and touts Singapore as "one of the most wildlife-friendly cities on earth" and a "city of the future".

Photo screenshot from Netflix

Our pristine waterways and lush nature, Wiley said, provides the "perfect environment for animals to revert to their wild ways".

"Could this be a vision of the future? Where our cities provide a home for all sorts of wildlife, not only at night, but also during the day?"

Here's one initiative the government recently announced to keep Singapore lush, verdant and wildlife-friendly.

You can watch Night on Earth's trailer here.

Top photo screenshot from Netflix