Earlier on National Day (9 August), an otter family in Punggol had lost their mother and the news was disclosed by Ottercity, a Singaporean platform for people to share their love and passion for otters.
The Facebook page shared on 10 August, recalling that they received a call about an otter lying still on Coney Island, and they feared that it was the otter family’s mother.
Ottercity revealed that the mother otter made it to the beach from the sea in her final hour.
Residents in that area dashed to the beach to search for the mother otter, but it turned out that she had crawled to the forest and was found by several kind people. They offered her fresh water and watched over her until she took her final breath.
The mother otter was said to be about six to seven years old, and Ottercity first saw her back in 2017 when she had her first or second litter. Apparently, she had led a “hard life” because her family did not have good holts and fishing areas.
It was explained that the areas the family lived at were always busy with people and other animals.
The group of otter enthusiasts added that they were aware that the mother otter had tried her best to keep her family intact although many of her pups ended up failing to survive the harsh conditions.
In the Facebook post shared yesterday (11 August), Ottercity explained that they did not intervene given that they witnessed how difficult the otter family was surviving.
They believed it would be “disastrous” to remove the mother from her milk-dependent pups. Despite seeing that she was “thin and looking unwell”, she was still able to lead her pack every day.
Other than that, Ottercity stated that it was “impossible” to capture the entire family with the adults and pups at the same time as this move would risk them dying.
“While we knew she was thin and looking unwell, she was still leading the pack everyday. It would be disastrous to the young milk-dependent pups for mum to be extracted from the family.”
“It is impossible to trap and capture the entire family with adults and pups all at the same time – the uncaptured ones would probably be subjected to a lot of stress and the captured ones may die in the process of being captured or while being transported for the same reason.”
In the Facebook comments, Ottercity managed to answer a few questions from the community.
The group explained that they handled and watched over the Punggol otters with the guidance by Otter Working Group intervention guidelines.
They also revealed that the remaining pups are currently being taken care of by the father, and that some watchers are monitoring their situation.
Facebook user Karen Yeo asked if an autopsy will be carried out, Ottercity responded that it would be done to find out her cause of death.
On another note, Do Lern Hwei noticed that the mother otter spent her last moments away from her family. Ottercity explained that animals would usually prefer to hide from their family when death is nearing. This behaviour was observed in other otters as well.