Singaporeans step in to protect otters living in Marina from Bishan rivals

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Photo Credit: Otterwatch

Singaporeans have saved an otter family originally from Marina today by warding off another gang of otters called the Bishan otter family who caught scent of the Marina group and swam furiously to wipe them out.

The Marina otter family refers to a family of otters that originally resided in Marina Reservoir in 2013. Their territory was invaded by the Bishan otter family in 2015 when the Bishan otters swam down via the Kallang River and displaced the Marina otters who were forced to move to the East Coast.

The Marina and Bishan otter families have been embroiled in territorial disputes ever since. The Marina otters are desperate to return to the Marina reservoir which is rich in food or at least live peacefully in their new refuge of the Singapore River, while their Bishan counterparts are dogged in their mission to eliminate the Marina family.

In a scuffle last year, the Bishan otters claimed the life of one young pup. This morning, they took another opportunity to strike the Marina otters who are grieving for their alpha male who died this past week after his health suddenly deteriorated.

The Marina otter family were resting on land this morning near the Jiak Kim Bridge, close to Robertson Quay when the Bishan otters were spotted swimming upstream, pursuing the Marina family’s scent. The two families were less than 50 metres away from one another.

Otterwatch, an online group which consolidates otter sightings around Singapore, reported that members of the public who are familiar with the otters’ spat began alerting one another, fearing that the Marina family, which includes five young pups, may be extinguished by their pursuers. These individuals came together to block the Bishan otters from reaching the Marina otters, who began scrambling to hide after spotting the rival pack.

Otterwatch wrote on their Facebook page that the people “came together on their own accord, to protect Marina family. Their plan was simple but effective, to block off Bishan otters to make their final climb to the stairs to reach Marina otters…Bishan otters kept trying and wanting to access the various stairs but without success. And they wouldn’t give up. Eventually, after about 2 hours of failed attempts, they went back downstream.

“Today was the first time Bishan family ever came so far upstream.

“Today was also the first time we ever saw different individuals coming together in unity and proactively protecting their Marina otter neighbours they so loved and empathised with.”

[Breaking news – The community stood up to protect their otters] – 11 Jun 2017.It was an unusual morning with many FIRSTs.At slight over 8 am this morning, lots of our mobile phones couldn't stop beeping. Many text messages, photos and videos started coming in … Bishan Otter family had reached Robertson Quay, they were picking up scents of Marina family – and were pursuing upstream fast to seek for them.Marina otters, who had recently lost their dad (alpha male), were near Jiak Kim bridge resting on land with their 5 pups. The 2 families were less than 50 metres away.Many members of public, PCN users and residents who were familiar with the history and stories of the 2 families started alerting each other in the mean time, fearing the worst – elimination of Marina family, especially the young pups.The residents, PCN users and otter watching communities, each came together on their own accord, to protect Marina family. Their plan was simple but effective, to block off Bishan otters to make their final climb to the stairs to reach Marina otters – which by this time, the Marina adults were rushing their pups to hide in the holt – they saw Bishan otters.Bishan otters kept trying and wanting to access the various stairs but without success. And they wouldn't give up. Eventually, after about 2 hours of failed attempts, they went back downstream.Today was the first time Bishan family ever came so far upstream.Today was also the first time we ever saw different individuals coming together in unity and proactively protecting their Marina otter Neighbours they so loved and empathised – with their recent lost of dad 5 days ago. Today, the community has proudly stood in for their lost dad.OtterWatch*Nature would take its course, eventually… but not today. Not during the period when the human community and Marina otter family are still grieving for Marina's recent lost dad.(Click HD to watch in high quality – Thanks to members of public whom provided various Video footages)

Posted by OtterWatch on Sunday, 11 June 2017

21 COMMENTS

  1. Note please get it right. It is confusing but the ‘marina family’ are no longer in marina bay. They were driven from their territory by the ‘bishan family’. So ‘bishan’ live in marina now and the ‘marina’ originals live upstream on the singapore river. So your headline is wrong though we get the jist of it.

  2. As for why people stepped in, I guess we can empathize as ‘marina’ are reeling from persecution by unknown humans, recent unexpected death of their patriarch and the pressures of young pups. A trifecta of pressures that any Singaporean can empathize with. Nature will take its own course in due time, but we must remember to make space for the animals that we share our island with.

  3. I was in The Cotswolds ( UK).
    140 lakes , a few streams and rivers- hardly any fish in them. Why? I asked a local. He told me.
    Otters were introduced to the waters some years back. They virtually WIPED out the fish population.
    140 lakes and some streams without fish ( almost).
    People please bear in mind what you wish for!!!!

  4. Otters may not have natural predators in our waters. They might clean out the fish in our rivers and reservoirs plus the kois in private gardens .
    Then there will be hue and cry by ‘ bleeding hearts’ when AVI department start culling.

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