Ottering

Communication, research, education and management with otters

Otter pages and groups 

Media – Articles with a holistic perspective

  • “Singapore is role model for how otters and people can co-exist: International expert,” by Toh Ting Wei. The Straits Times, 22 Sep 2018 (Interview with IUCN/SSC Otter Specialist Group Chair Dr Nicole Duplaix) [link].
  • “A tale of two otters: settling in Singapore, suffering in China,” by Joshua Parfitt. Mongabay, 07 Feb 2018 [link]
  • “Can Singapore’s growing otter population continue to thrive in an urban landscape?” By Monica Kotwani, Channel News Asia, 02 Jul 2017. [link]
  • “New litter of pups in Bishan otter family brings total number of otters in Singapore to over 60” by Lydia Lam. The Straits Times, 28 Nov 2017. [link]
  • “Move over, Merlion.” The Economist, 25 Aug 2016 [link]
  • “Mad about otters: Enthusiasts look out for charming animals,” by Lea Wee. The Straits Times, 24 Jul 2016. A community of enthusiasts look out for, and watch over, the charming animals. [link]

Greening (and blueing) of Singapore – holistic aspects for the return of the otters to Singapore):

  • “Lee Kuan Yew: The man who guided Singapore from slum to eco-city,” by Jessica Cheam. Eco-business, 25 March 2015 [link]
  • “The cleaning up of Singapore River and Kallang Basin (1977-1987),” blog post, 23 Sep 2012. [link]

Celebratory videos with story summaries

  • Singapore 50th National Day (by Jeff Teo et al) [link]
  • Singapore 51st National Day (by Jeff Teo) [link] [coverage in The Straits Times]

Video stories of Otter Working Group projects

  • “Going Home” – return of otter cub Toby to his Marina family (video by Fast Snail aka Chun Kit Soo [link]
  • “Free Aquarius” – capture, treatment and release of a young otter with a constricting “O-ring” around its body. (Video produced by Jeffrey Teo et al.) [link and The Straits Times article]

Other resources:

  • Map of Singapore with main populations identified in Otter of Singapore (2015) [link]
  • Otter Watch Singapore fb page – reports of otters in Singapore [link]
  • Otter City Singapore – reports by citizen-otterwatchers who track populations of otters [link]
  • Videos by Fast Snail aka Chun Kit Soo chronicling smooth-coated otter behaviour [link]
  • Advisory on smooth-coated otters in Singapore [NParks]

Otter webinars

  1. “Otters of Singapore,” by N. Sivasothi, 08 May 2020. #SGSTEM2 [link]
  2. “The Otter Side of the Singaproe Botanic Gardens,” by Anusha Shivram, 05 Jun 2020.
  3. “The Otter Occupants of an Oil Palm Dominated Landscape,” by Annable Pianzin, 11 Jul 2020.
  4. “Kuala Selangor Nature Park: Tales of a Previous Wetland Refugia for Otters,” by Woo Chee Yoong, 04 Sep 2020.

The COVID-19 Kerfluffle

  • 26 Apr 2020 – “Otters play in streets as they look for new home,” by Vanessa Liu. The Straits Times [link]
  • 18 May 2020 – “No, Singapore isn’t being overrun by otters: ‘Otterman’ biologist,” by Carolyn Teo. Coconuts Singapore. [link]
  • 18 May 2020 – “No otter slaughter, Singapore’s animal lovers tell the haters.” Coconuts Singapore. [link]
  • [Facebook Live/Radio] 18 May 2020 – One Radio 91.3FM with FD & Glenn – cull the otter! [link; watch from 27:00, 17 mins]
  • [Facebook Live/Radio] 19 May 2020 – One Radio 91.3FM – Otterman speaks with FD & Glenn [link; 48:30 mins] 
  • 23 May 2020 – “In pictures: Nature is thriving in locked-down Singapore—is it time to rethink the city in a garden?” By Robin Hicks. Eco-Business [link]
  • [Radio] 23 May 2020 – Money FM 89.3 – Glenn van Zutphen & Neil Humphreys speak with Otterman [link; 18:29 mins] 
  • [Facebook Live] 27 May 2020 – Mothership.sg – with Yeo Tsiu Wen & Zheng Zhangxin on Facebook Livestream [link], World Otter Day
  • 30 May 2020 – “Otters being spotted on Singapore’s empty streets during COVID-19 lockdown,” By AFP. [link]

Otter Meetings & Workshops organised

Workshops for members of public 

  • 19 Oct 2019 – 2nd OWG Workshop for otter-watching community in Singapore
  • 15 May 2019 – OWG EDU workshop for FOB volunteers
  • 29 Jul 2017 – 1st OWG Workshop for the otter-watching community in Singapore

Scientific meetings, for the IUCN/SSC Otter Specialist Group
With funding from Wildlife Reserves Singapore

  • 14th International Otter Congress, Tangjiahe, 8th – 13th April 2019
  • IUCN/SSC Otter Specialist Group Southeast Asia members review of the Global Otter Conservation Strategy, Singapore 9 – 12 Sep 2018
  • 13th International Otter Congress, Singapore, 3rd – 8th July 2016.

Otter papers

  • Khoo, Max De Yuan & N. Sivasothi (2018). Population structure, distribution, and habitat use of Smooth-coated otters Lutrogale perspicillata in Singapore. IUCN Otter Spec. Group Bull, 35(3), 171-182. [llink]
  • Khoo, Max De Yuan & N. Sivasothi (2018). Observations of the variation in group structure of two urban smooth-coated otter Lutrogale perspicillata groups in the central watershed of Singapore. IUCN Otter Spec. Group Bull, 35(3), 148 – 154. [link]
  • Theng, M. & N. Sivasothi (2016). The smooth-coated otter Lutrogale perspicillata (Mammalia: Mustelidae) in Singapore: Establishment and expansion in natural and semi-urban environments. IUCN Otter Spec. Group Bull, 33(1), 37-49. [link]
  • Theng, M., H. H. Tan, & N. Sivasothi (2016). Diet of the smooth-coated otter Lutrogale perspicillata (Geoffroy, 1826) at natural and modified sites in Singapore. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 64: 290¿301. [link]
  • Sivasothi, N., & Nor, B. H. M. (1994). A review of otters (Carnivora: Mustelidae: Lutrinae) in Malaysia and Singapore. In Ecology and Conservation of Southeast Asian Marine and Freshwater Environments including Wetlands (pp. 151-170). Springer, Dordrecht. [link]

For other wildlife papers, see Research Gate or Google Scholar.

Otter presentations 

  • Sivasothi N., Meryl Theng, Max Khoo & Tina Liow, 2019. The return of the smooth-coated otter to Singapore: distribution, growth, public perception and conservation management. 14th International Otter Congress, IUCN-SSC Otter Specialist Group, Tangjiahe, 8th – 13th April 2019.
  • Khoo, Max, Li Tianjiao, Rekha Mohan, Jeffery Teo, N. Sivasothi & Adrian Loo, 2019. Management of Human-Otter interactions in urban environments in Singapore. 14th International Otter Congress, IUCN-SSC Otter Specialist Group, Tangjiahe, 8th – 13th April 2019.
  • Sivasothi N., Meryl Theng & Max Khoo, 2017. The return of the smooth-coated otter to Singapore: distribution, growth, public perception and conservation management. Asian Wetlands Symposium, 7 – 11 Nov 2017, Saga, Japan.
  • Sivasothi, N., 2016. Evolution of the Otter Working Group in Singapore following the establishment and radiation of the Smooth -coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) in Singapore. 13th International Otter Congress: Otters & People. IUCN-SSC Otter Specialist Group. 3rd-8th July 2016, Singapore.
  • Khoo, M. D. Y. & N. Sivasothi, 2016. Home range and diurnal activity pattern of two family groups of Lutrogale perspicillata (Geoffroy, 1826) along the Kallang River, Singapore. 13th International Otter Congress: Otters & People. IUCN-SSC Otter Specialist Group. 3rd-8th July 2016, Singapore.

Otter students

  1. 2011 Theng Tze Yin Meryl [3rd year UROPS LSM3289] – Status, Distribution and Diet of the Smooth-coated Otter Lutrogale perspicillata (Geoffroy, 1826) in Singapore.
  2. 2012 Meryl Theng U085466U [Honours year] Autecology of the Smooth-coated Otter Lutrogale perspicillata (Geoffroy, 1826) along the Johor Straits, Singapore.
  3. 2016 Max Khoo De Yuan [3rd year UROPS LSM3288] – Home range and diurnal activity pattern of two family groups of Lutrogale perspicillata (Geoffroy,1826) along the Kallang River.
  4. 2017 Max_Khoo_De_Yuan [Honours year] – The population status of smooth-coated otters (Lutrogale perspicillata) in Singapore.
  5.  2017 Lau Jun Jie [Honours year] – Behavioural traits and vocalisations of a family of smooth-coated otters Lutrogale perspicillata (Geoffroy, 1826) in the urban environment of Singapore.
  6. 2017 Lim Wei Zhi [2nd year UROPS LSM2289] – Changes in home ranges and activity budget of Lutrogale perspicillata during litter growth and territorial dispute.
  7. 2019 Liow Jia Zhen Tina [Honours year] – Home range, activity pattern, and feeding ecology of pre-natal and post-natal smooth-coated otter families (Lutrogale perspicillata) in Singapore.
  8. 2020 Anusha Shivram [3rd year UROPS LSM3288] – Habitat Use and Home Range Extension by a Smooth-Coated Otter (Lutrogale Perspicillata) family in the Singapore Botanic Gardens, with Observations of Pup and Parental Care Behaviours.