Video shows otters adapting to city living in Singapore by climbing ladder

By Chew Hui Min
The Straits Times
Mar 6, 2017

After several tries, wildlife photographer Bernard Seah finally captured the rare sight of two otters climbing a ladder last week.

Mr Seah, a wildlife and otter enthusiast, posted the video on Facebook on Sunday (March 5). It has been viewed about 9,000 times as of Monday morning.

He wrote: "Amazing! We all know that wildlife in an urban environment have to adapt. A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that smooth-coated otters learned to climb ladders. So here is (proof of) my observation.

The clip, slightly longer than one minute, shows two adult-sized otters clamber up a metal ladder from a drain.

Mr Seah, who has been taking photos of wildlife for five years, has snapped many photos and videos of the smooth-coated otters.

He said that he took 20 to 30 hours over several attempts to get that footage.

It is another example of them adapting to urban infrastructure which are not present in nature, he said.

"They are just finding ways to get around things that people have put in their way," he told The Straits Times on Monday (March 6).

The otters have also been using the floating platform in Marina Bay as a rest and play area - which explains their excursion to light sculpture exhibition Art-Zoo last Friday.

Many of the otters in Singapore have become used to living in a crowded city, but Mr Seah says there are still concerns that people will disrupt their activities, such as grooming and feeding them, by getting too close to the animals.

"Enjoy their presence, but respect the wildlife and keep your distance," he said.

Otters are native to Singapore but no sightings were recorded for about 30 years before they re-appeared in Sungei Buloh in 1998. They are also found in parts of India and throughout South-east Asia.

They then moved to other parts of Singapore, and created a stir when spotted in the city at Marina Bay and in the heartlands at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in recent years.

The semi-aquatic mammals are listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature due to habitat loss and trapping in other parts of Asia.

The Straits Times

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