No otter slaughter, Singapore’s animal lovers tell the haters

Image: Ottercity/Facebook
Image: Ottercity/Facebook

Singapore’s otter enthusiasts have fired back at calls to cull the seemingly emboldened critters to rein in their population. 

Members of the Ottercity online community yesterday called on people suggesting the otters be hunted down and killed actually find some of the alleged nuisances before demanding their deaths.

“So before you say cull the otters, why not go out after circuit breaker and find one of these otter families that are ‘overrunning’ Singapore,” a page admin wrote. “Not that easy you know. Watch awhile and notice people breaking into smiles. Better yet, stop us for a chat – we may make an otter friend of you yet!” 

[ Diary of an otterwatcher ]

Otter incidents: Take a look behind the scenes …

Koi eaten. Otter fights. Extreme…

Posted by Ottercity on Monday, 18 May 2020

It went up days after The Straits Times published a letter from Ong Junkai calling for the otter population to be “better managed” and recommended the use of “loud air horns” and “rubber bullets” as deterrence tactics, and made an ominous warning of “poison.” It garnered online attention and mixed reviews from those who were for and against his suggestion. 

No, Singapore isn’t being overrun by otters: ‘Otterman’ biologist

The letter was published as more eyewitness accounts of otters roaming Singapore’s streets and feasting on pond fish surfaced on social media. On the same day, radio DJ Glenn Ong from One FM 91.3 suggested culling otters on his show. 

“How natural is it for otters to be roaming around in our urban environment? It is not natural at all and the population is growing right now, so I think it is time to cull them!” he was heard saying. 

Culling not the way to go: Ottercity

Ottercity also urged the public to be more sympathetic to wildlife, especially as the otter population in the world is dwindling. There are only about 90 otters in Singapore. 

“It is compassion – for all native wildlife trying to survive, who flout our human rules simply because they don’t know any better. By the way, Singapore‘s otters are unique – it’s rare to see a wild otter elsewhere (people fly in just to watch and film them); otter numbers worldwide are declining by 30% each year,” it said. 

The group also cited entrepreneur Jazreel Low, who said that she does not support killing the otters even though some of them last week ate her prized koi in Bishan. 

“I don’t believe that culling is the way to go. Killing the otters won’t bring back the fishes. We’re located in one of their habitats, and we should learn how to co-exist with the otters instead of resorting to drastic measures such as culling them,” Low said. 

Regarding accusations by Ong that the animal group was not monitoring the otter population or acting on otter-related issues enough, the group said he was “wrong.”

Ottercity members work with NParks, PUB, and the Animal Concerns Concerns Research and Education Society, or ACRES, on otter-related issues.

“The presumption is that nothing is being done. Wrong. There is a middle ground we are working on – less headline-grabbing but much harder work than name-calling,” the group said. 

Other stories you should check out:
No, Singapore isn’t being overrun by otters: ‘Otterman’ biologist
Animal group says couple euthanized ‘biting’ dog needlessly
K Shanmugam urges public to stop harassing clinic where Loki the dog was put to sleep
Singapore’s dog-bot enforcer ‘dystopian’ to late night American TV

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Reader Interactions


  1. Otter is a living creature and having to eat and survive is as natural as some humans like to create delusional thoughts that having them around is not natural. Even though there are many such selfish individual around, it’s balanced by the presence of others who truly appreciate the fact that we only share this planet with other species. So for every Glenn long or jazreel low out there, there will be others to protect the otters. And I’m with them all the way.

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