Otter spotting with wildlife enthusiast at Nature Society event

Supply chain professional Manish Kumar, 36, his daughter Aadhya, 7, and finance professional Ng Soon Lee, 48, watching the Bishan family of otters scamper past them at Marina South Pier.
Supply chain professional Manish Kumar, 36, his daughter Aadhya, 7, and finance professional Ng Soon Lee, 48, watching the Bishan family of otters scamper past them at Marina South Pier. ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
The Bishan family of otters swimming at Marina South Pier on Sunday morning.
The Bishan family of otters swimming at Marina South Pier on Sunday morning.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
The Bishan family of otters making their way up from Marina South Pier towards the Marina Barrage on Sunday morning.
The Bishan family of otters making their way up from Marina South Pier towards the Marina Barrage on Sunday morning.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
Participants of a Nature Society (Singapore)-organised otter-spotting event photographing the animals near Marina South Pier on Sunday morning.
Participants of a Nature Society (Singapore)-organised otter-spotting event photographing the animals near Marina South Pier on Sunday morning.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
Finance professional Ng Soon Lee, 48, and retiree Patrick Ng, 63, photographing the Bishan family of otters near Marina South Pier on Sunday morning.
Finance professional Ng Soon Lee, 48, and retiree Patrick Ng, 63, photographing the Bishan family of otters near Marina South Pier on Sunday morning.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
The Bishan family of otters making their way up from Marina South Pier towards the Marina Barrage on Sunday morning.
The Bishan family of otters making their way up from Marina South Pier towards the Marina Barrage on Sunday morning.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
(From left) Aadhya Kumar, 7, supply chain professional Manish Kumar, 36, retiree Patrick Ng, 63, and finance professional Ng Soon Lee, 48, watching the Bishan family of otters near Marina South Pier on Sunday morning.
(From left) Aadhya Kumar, 7, supply chain professional Manish Kumar, 36, retiree Patrick Ng, 63, and finance professional Ng Soon Lee, 48, watching the Bishan family of otters near Marina South Pier on Sunday morning.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

SINGAPORE - Wildlife enthusiast Bernard Seah was at the Marina Bay area before the sun rose.

At 7.10am, hoping that his targets would not move too far, he got a Nature Society (Singapore) volunteer to tell a WhatsApp group to meet at Marina South Pier. "Otters now nearby that area," read the message.

Soon, almost 20 people, some on foot and others on bicycles and other personal mobility devices, arrived excitedly, looking out for the Bishan family of otters.

For the next couple of hours, they followed the 11 otters as they scampered and swam around Marina South Pier, up towards Marina Barrage and Gardens by the Bay.

Organised by the Nature Society (Singapore) for the first time, the Fun With Otters At Marina Bay-Kallang River event saw Mr Seah, 48, sharing his knowledge and passion for these animals.

"I've been a wildlife enthusiast for years, but it's when I got into digital photography in 2011 that my passion went up a couple of notches," said the professional emcee, who also volunteers with the National Parks Board and runs a Facebook photography page.

He spent the morning talking to the group, sharing facts like why the otters are called the Bishan family, and the distance one should keep when approaching them.

Holding a pair of binoculars, yoga instructor Marian Ang was closely watching the mammals with her nine-year-old daughter Trinity.

"I've seen otter families before, but it was only for a few seconds. This is the first time I'm able to follow a group," said Ms Ang, 39. "I'm very happy. It's so nice to be able to go so near, and learn from Bernard what to do."

A Nature Society spokesman said: "Otters have been in the news, yet we haven't gotten around to organising an event following them. So it's about time we did this."

She said: "They are an icon, so it's good that we get to know about these charismatic creatures."