12 otters frolic in condominium pool, then fill up on fish from pond

Hedy Yang
The New Paper
April 8, 2021

Residents of The Crest condominium next to Alexandra Canal had unusual visitors on Tuesday afternoon.

A family of 12 otters, from the Zouk family, first frolicked in the condo pool before moving to the pond and feasting on most of the fish in it.

The pool has been closed for cleaning until today and there is not much life left in the pond, a favourite spot for children in the estate to watch and feed the fish.

In a video posted by Ms Yvonne Chan in Facebook group Singapore Wildlife Sightings on Tuesday, the otters can be seen swimming in the pool and entering the pond for what turned out to be lunch.

Invasion of otters. They not only swam in our pool but also had a feast in the pond next to it. They ate up all the fish we reared in the pond. #unbelievablesightings #otters

Posted by Yvonne Chan on Tuesday, April 6, 2021

According to Ms Chan, who lives at The Crest, the otters stayed for about an hour.

Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, she said sightings of the otters are "not unusual" as they frequent the nearby Alexandra Canal, but they have never entered the estate.

"We are wondering how they got into our condo. How did they know there is a pond filled with fish? Quite unbelievable," she added.

Mr N. Sivasothi, a senior lecturer in biological sciences at the National University of Singapore, is known as Singapore's "Otterman" for his research on the animals since the 1990s. He said that this group of otters is from the "nomadic" Zouk family that was "squeezed out of waterways by competition but are doing amazingly well in the urban matrix".

To minimise damage caused by "otter invasions", he suggested plugging holes in fencing or drainage.

He added: "The thing to realise is that as we enter the vision of a City in Nature, we will gradually learn to be comfortable around wildlife in our midst. It will take time and these are teething blues as we all learn to adjust."

Dr Adrian Loo, group director of wildlife management at National Parks Board (NParks), said in a statement: "Our contractors identified gaps in the condominium's fencing through which the otters would have entered.

"To mitigate such incursions, we provided advice to the condominium management on how to secure these access points.

"In December 2019, NParks had observed otters frequenting that stretch of Alexandra Canal and had provided advice to some of the developments in the area, including The Crest, on preventive measures to avoid otters entering their compounds."

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