The patriarch of a family of otters in Singapore has died after an illness, said a community of otter enthusiasts on Thursday (8 June).
A post about the otter on the OtterWatch Facebook page garnered almost 200 shares after the news broke on Thursday night. Some members of the Facebook group suspected that the otter could have ingested poison.
The otter, believed to be about seven years old, is part of a group of otters known as the Marina family.
The Otter Working Group, a group of representatives concerned with otter welfare, told The Straits Times that the animal had appeared weak and ill since last Thursday (1 June). It was also seen struggling to eat and swim.
Tan Yong Lin, a photographer who regularly observes the otters, told Yahoo Singapore that the father otter’s health had declined quickly. Last week, Tan said he had just seen the otter family at the Marina Bay Sands area and the father otter appeared healthy. “Last week he was perfectly fine,” said Tan.
It was last seen at Jiak Kim Bridge on Wednesday (7 June). As of Friday, it had been missing for over 36 hours and has not been seen with its family.
Otter enthusiast Chun Kit Soo posted on Facebook on 6 June, “Recently, Marina dad is looking very tired. Fresh blood has been observed from his poo these two days. We are concerned if he has been poisoned.
“Anyone know of a way to ascertain whether he has been poisoned?”
Soo also shared a post from someone who said that her dog was poisoned along the Singapore River when a pest control company left rodent poison along the river.
Singapore is home to about 60 smooth-coated otters.