The family moved down river to the Kallang Basin to a nice swanky area by the Sports Hub. They found plenty of fish and lived peacefully with the Marina Bay family after a fight. Then momma otter was pregnant again. In the beginning of 2016, she had five pups.
Returning to Bishan as the Bishan 10, this family has the widest range after their fight with the Marina 9. They’ve also become darlings with many Singaporeans who have had the pleasure of meeting them. In August 2016, the family was voted by ST readers to represent Singapore in her 51st year. Many chose the otters because they represented a close-knit family that looked out for each other.
They’ve also become social media and press celebrities with lots of photos being posted on social media sites. International press also covered their story. The BBC did a story on the family when the IUCN Otter Specialist Group held their 13th conference here which was aptly titled “Otters & People”. One the last day of the conference delegates went out in search of otters but they weren’t around. At the eleventh hour, the family was sighted and there were huge smiles on the faces of otter specialists as the 10 didn’t disappoint.
They are also featured in a NatGeo Wild documentary titled Otter Town that is being aired in the US. Most recently, The Economist did a nice write-up on them too titled Move over, Merlion.
It was on April 15, 2015 that the three pups were first photographed coming out of their holt with their mother. In the months following the family of five enthralled all who had the opportunity to see them. This family of wild smooth-coated otters living among humans in a park was the most accessible group of otters living in Singapore. To ensure their safety and integration into the community, we worked quickly to cobble together otter sharing sessions christened OtterWatch@Bishan. The first session started immediately after our meeting, when the family came out to greet us as if to give us their blessing. The sharing sessions provided information on the species, and answered all sorts of questions that people had on the family that chose to live in heart of the island. Signs were also put up to inform people on what to do when they encountered smooth-coated otters.
The family moved to Park 1 briefly but returned to Park 2 as the pups still needed the shelter and warmth of the holt. The first time parents could have under estimated their pups ability to handle the weather and the strong currents in the river during torrential downpours.
It was back to the holt. While the pups stayed close to mum. Dad was responsible for bringing back the fish. The pups weren’t weaned yet but they were learning to eat fish.
Both parents are ever vigilant. The slightest sound or movement that isn’t normal will send them both into defense mode.
The family made the move from Park 2 to Park 1, and otterly delighted a new group of people who had never met the Famous Five. They even held court on a Sunday when Prime Minister Lee along with the Prime Minister of Australia toured the park. On July 2, they left Park 1 and headed to explore Lower Peirce reservoir, which is part of the Kallang River. They were sighted as far as Upper Peirce. Then they popped up at MacRitchie.