atans1

Bishan Otters: Why they’ll be on AVA’s cull list

In Environment on 21/02/2017 at 4:51 am

S’poreans are great at KPKBing after the event; Jus look at the noise after the culling of the Sing Ming Avenue fowl be they be junglefowl, feral domestic chickens or mixed breed (My take on that).

If S’poreans are their usual lazy, unthinking, reactive selves what happened at Sing Ming can happen to the Bishan otters because based on what happened to wild pigs and the fowl, the default mode at AVA to any animal problem is “Cull first, ask questions and BS later”.


This assurance on culling reported by CNA is only for free-ranging chickens: Culling of free-ranging chickens will only be done as “last resort” says MND junior minister Dr Koh.

Otters are not chickens.

Image result for otters singaporeImage result for jungle fowl singapore

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And there’s good reason to be concerned about the environmental impact of the otters. They are not stopping at two: a population of five in mid 2015, has expanded to 14 in about two years. And the first three youngsters will be maturing soon.

In April 2015, two adult otters — believed to have swam over from Malaya to S’pore — were caught on camera with triplet baby pups in tow, having settled down in the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.

Five new pups, believed to be born in late December 2015, made the family the Bishan Eight.

Then there was a new litter of five pups some time in mid-November 2016. But one is missing it seems.

All in all, a population of five in mid 2015, has expanded to 14 in about two years. By the end of 2018, there’ll be 10 sexually mature otters. They won’t be stopping at two for sure.

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Dr Koh said AVA found that the free-roaming chicken population near Sin Ming Avenue had more than doubled in the last two years from about 20 to more than 50 birds. (CNA)

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As bitch otters, I’ve read, reach sexual maturity at approximately two years of age and males at approximately three years, the triplets will soon be sexually mature: the gals by April this year, and the boys by April next year.

The gals in the next batch will mature in December this year and the boys by December next year.

So by the end of 2018, there’ll be 10 sexually mature otters. They’ll breed like their parents.

As pups live with their family for approximately one year, the otters range further.

Add to that the issue of in-breeding and we could have otter conservation issues as a legtimate and reasonable concern.

Let’s hope the AVA is planning ahead and that culling isn’t the usual default option, or even on the agenda. Maybe MP Lous Ng and his ACRES: Animal Concerns Research and Education Society can keep the AVA on its toes.

The Bishan otters deserve better than the exterminated Sing Ming Avenue fowl be they be junglefowl, feral domestic chickens or mixed breed.

 

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  1. I have always been thinking about this issue. As there are no natural predators for these otters, it just a matter of time before they will have to be culled to control the population. Otherwise they will wreck havoc to the natural ecosystems. And I am not referring to the thousands of dollars of losses of fishes they did at Sentosa Cove.

  2. Just farm them for fur & meat. Looks like quite easy to rear. Can have cheap otter furskin products (luscious water-resistant fur!) and cheap otter steaks & burgers.

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