Forum: Otters in condo pool: It shows need for boundaries

Residents at Park Infinia@Wee Nam condo were treated to an unusual sight over the weekend of otters frolicking in their condo pool which is more used to human swimmers.
Residents at Park Infinia@Wee Nam condo were treated to an unusual sight over the weekend of otters frolicking in their condo pool which is more used to human swimmers. PHOTOS: SCREENGRABS FROM REDDIT

While the sight of otters frolicking in the swimming pool at Park Infinia@Wee Nam was a source of amusement for many, there is a more serious practical concern which should be highlighted - that of an increasing number of sightings of otters in urban areas (Frolicking otters lead to condo pool being closed for cleaning, March 10).

This may be attributed to Singapore being a victim of its own success. Singapore's clean waterways provide the ideal environment for otters to thrive, with our canals, rivers and drains providing these otters with a source of food and a relatively safe haven with no predators.

These waterways are also mostly linked, and eventually pass by housing estates.

Given the otters' natural inclination to forage for food and their acute sense of smell, it should be no wonder that the creatures wander inland in search of food.

Invariably, this also means that it is likely that they will be able to sniff out fish in private housing estates, too.

While humans should embrace and learn to co-exist with nature, more could be done in this area of concern.

This is not the first report of sightings of otters within private property. There was the case of otters feasting on fish belonging to a Sentosa condominium. There was also a case of injury to a human a few years back (Girl, 5, bitten by otter near Satay by the Bay, Dec 31, 2017).

More should be done to provide the otters with a more suitable environment to live in and allow them to dwell and thrive in their natural habitats.

While we encourage the embracing of and co-existence with nature, there is still some benefit in demarcating the boundaries between nature and humans.

This demarcation and mutual respect would truly allow both humans and animals to thrive.

Alden Tan Ek Kai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2020, with the headline 'Otters in condo pool: It shows need for boundaries'. Print Edition | Subscribe