Otters 'murdered' prized koi: 'I had this hobby close to 30 years now and in 1 night, it is destroyed'

Submitted by Stomper Tham

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Otter-ly devastated.

A Bukit Timah resident awakened one morning to find that the resident's prized koi – some kept for more than 15 years – had been eaten by otters.

Sharing photos of the slaughter, Stomper Tham said: "I had this hobby close to 30 years now and in one night, it is destroyed.

"Our house is rather deep in and on top of a little hill. It is quite unexpected that these critters can actually make their way up there."

The Stomper had lived in the house for more than 20 years.

"We had the house built with two ponds to accommodate our hobby of rearing koi. From day one of moving in, we had no issues," said the Stomper. "Fishes thrived and all.

"Then on Sunday morning (Oct 2), we woke up to find my ponds filled with partly eaten carcasses of my beloved koi. Even my algae eaters were left without heads on the pond perimeter.

"Otters had trespassed our property and murdered my beloved koi. I was left with only three survivors, all of which were severely injured and left with no fins. One could only lie sideways."

A day later, two of the survivors died from their injuries.  "I am absolutely devastated and in shock," said the Stomper.

"It seems to me that the otter population is getting out of control and I would like to appeal to the Government to stop encouraging it."

Otters are listed as critically endangered in Singapore.

While the number of smooth-coated otters here has almost doubled since 2017 to about 150, wildlife experts said overpopulation is not a cause for concern, reported The Straits Times in April.

National Parks Board (NParks) group director of wildlife management Adrian Loo told ST that otter populations in Singapore's urban environment are curbed by environmental limits and the availability of suitable habitats.

"As otters are highly territorial, competition for space and pup mortality will further limit how much the populations can grow," he added.

That is little comfort for the Stomper, who said: "I am too traumatised to keep any more fish as I feel that Singapore is no longer safe and conducive for hobbyists like us.

"I hope you can make my story heard and to urge NParks to take responsibility and do something about these attacks."

On its website, NParks has an advisory on how to prevent otters from entering your compound and eating your fish.