Injured 'mother' otter now free of fishing line

The female otter injured by a fishing hook and line has now been seen without the fishing line trailing from its body on Jan 7, 2017.
The female otter injured by a fishing hook and line has now been seen without the fishing line trailing from its body on Jan 7, 2017.PHOTOS: JEFFERY TEO AND JEFF TAN
At least three otter watchers have seen the mother otter looking well on Jan 7, 2017.
At least three otter watchers have seen the mother otter looking well on Jan 7, 2017.PHOTO: JEFFERY TEO
The otter mother with two of her children seen swimming on Jan 7, 2017.
The otter mother with two of her children seen swimming on Jan 7, 2017.PHOTO: JEFFERY TEO
The otter mother (top) seen with two of her babies on Jan 7, 2017.
The otter mother (top) seen with two of her babies on Jan 7, 2017.PHOTO: JEFFERY TEO
The mother otter swimming in a line with her pups on Jan 7, 2017.
The mother otter swimming in a line with her pups on Jan 7, 2017.PHOTO: JEFFERY TEO
The mother otter helping one of her pups up a ledge on Jan 7, 2017.
The mother otter helping one of her pups up a ledge on Jan 7, 2017.PHOTO: JEFFERY TEO
Family time for the mother otter and her pups as they snuggle up close together on Jan 7, 2017.
Family time for the mother otter and her pups as they snuggle up close together on Jan 7, 2017.PHOTO: PATRICK NG

SINGAPORE - The female otter injured by a fishing hook and line has now been seen without the fishing line trailing from its body, days after water agency PUB said it would step up surveillance patrols at Marina Bay, where the incident reportedly happened.

At least three otter watchers have seen the otter looking well on Saturday (Jan 7). It is believed to be the mother of a new litter of pups.

Otter watcher Jeffery Teo, who has followed Singapore otters for more than four years, showed The Straits Times pictures and said: "Mum packs herself with a full schedule taking care of the young kids, feeding and teaching them how to swim."

However, none of them could go close enough to confirm whether the hook was still embedded, said the 45-year-old, who works in the financial services industry.

In these latest pictures, the line-free otter is seen with her pups at Marina Reservoir.

Another fan of the creatures - 60-year-old retiree Patrick Ng - sent ST a photo of the mother otter without the fishing line, but with a scar in its side.

 
 

"It probably got dislodged by itself," said Mr Ng, who follows the otters almost daily.

In a separate incident last year, an otter pup which was spotted with a fish hook in its eye in April, recovered from the wound without any external help.

The Animal Concerns Research and Education Society told ST that it is not actively trying to capture the otter to remove the hook as capture is very stressful for the animal.

PUB on Tuesday (Jan 3) had reiterated its stance against illegal fishing.

Fingers had been pointed at anglers who were photographed allegedly fishing illegally near the floating platform at Marina Bay when the incident happened.

However, anglers online said not all anglers are irresponsible and added the incident could have accidentally happened earlier at legal fishing spots.

Dudy Sarah Widjaya responded to a Facebook post by otter community page OtterWatch on Monday (Jan 2) that "fishing is a healthy hobby" and asked netizens not to "condemn all the anglers" because of one otter.

Facebook user Noel Tan said: "Trust me anglers don't purposely want to lose their hooks and line. All these things cost money. Otter could have been hooked at a legal fishing area then the hook stayed on it until it went to floating platform area."