Japanese Otterman observes giant river otters at River Safari

Hiroshi Sasaki, who has studied Asian otters since the 90’s, dropped by Singapore to observe the giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) at the River Safari.

We watched the pair swim for an hour until they retired to their dens. The otters can be observed from above, along the side of the tank and from the middle. It was fascinating and soothing.

Then I rushed off to my meeting.

Hiroshi and I caught up early morning in the taxi ride from Mackenzie Road, chatting about research, friends and students dating back to the 90’s. He asked me about Pat Foster-Turley’s spraint item identification, and realised she had discussed crab prey items with someone, but who?

I revealed that was Peter Ng, our crabman, and that Foster-Turley had stopped by to chat with Peter in 1990. She left behind some spraint items in a box which looked to be fiddler crab remains from small-clawed otter remains from Perak.

Peter tossed that box at me in a conversation after my honours year, and suggested I study a wild mammal. That’s how it started.

When we got out the cab, who else did we bump into but Peter!

And we enjoyed a brief reminiscent moment next to the Changi tree sculptures at the zoo entrance today.


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