Yio Chu Kang resident, 60, mourns loss of 10 koi fish after otters' surprise visit to pond

The owner said it was the first time he saw the otters venture into the residential estate.

Jean Chien Tay | September 22, 2021, 08:22 PM

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In the wee hours of Sep. 18, a private koi pond in Yio Chu Kang was visited by a group of five otters.

The fishy encounter left five of the koi fish maimed, while another 10 koi fish did not survive the visit.

Speaking to Mothership, the 60-year-old owner, who wished to be known as Anthony, expressed his sadness over the passing of his "beloved" pet fish, some of which had been with him for seven years.

He added that he had acquired the koi fish at a young age, as he enjoyed the process of watching them grow under his care.

An otter struggled to secure its catch

In CCTV footage shared with Mothership, an otter appear to sneak in from below Anthony's house's gate and scouted the area, before summoning four other otters to the house.

After letting themselves in, the furry visitors made their way to the koi pond in Anthony's house and proceeded on their "hunt".

The otters appeared to take a moment pacing around the pond before diving in for the catch.

After several minutes of swimming and splashing around in the pond, one of the otters can be seen struggling to get its catch out of the water for a good 60 seconds.

According to Anthony, his biggest pet koi was around the size of 90cm, a feat that was "difficult" to achieve.

Another otter then surfaced with a koi fish in his mouth, before climbing out of the pond to feast on the fish.

The struggling otter did not manage to get the fish out of the water till the end of the footage.

Photo courtesy of Anthony.

Owner recounts "attachment" to his pet fish

Recounting the time with his pet fish, Anthony said the fish would "follow him around the pond" and feed from his hand "every morning and evening".

After the incident, he said he now feels "depressed" during those times of the day, as he had already grown attached to the koi.

Responding to Mothership's queries, the Yio Chu Kang resident said that he often saw otters swimming in the nearby Sungei Punggol, which is "a good half kilometre away".

Prior to this incident, he had never seen them venturing on land and into the residential estate.

While it cost him S$6,000 to purchase the fish initially, Anthony mentioned that it is "hard" to put a value on the fish that he lost as he had kept them over the course of "many years".

According to him, he is an animal lover who also keeps other pets and "enjoy(s) seeing animals in the wild".

However, he feels the need for certain "actions to be taken", in the event of wild animals "causing damage(s)" to residential estates.

Home owners who sighted otters in the vicinity were previously advised to install simple fibreglass barriers for their koi ponds to prevent otters' access.

While the smooth coated otters seem to be thriving in Singapore in recent years, the species remain listed as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and “Critically Endangered” by Singapore’s Red List.

Their population is still dwindling, mainly due to loss of habitats as a result of urban development.

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Top image via Anthony