Jogger finds otter in distress, calls firefighters for help

The otter was placed in a cage to be released to its natural habitat.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Jan 14: A curious otter on an adventure around Kuching South City Council (MBKS) headquarters was found whimpering after its tail was snared and tangled in a rope hung from the ledge of the entrance to the basement carpark early this morning.

A jogger, who wished not to be named, followed the loud distress cry and found the otter trapped and dangling from the rope as it struggled to maintain balance by perching on the wall and a pipe extension at about 6am.

She then tried to help the otter by trying to pull it up but it got panicky and terrified and started to struggle so she stopped and the securities arrived.

“It was quite heavy as well and dangerous as I had to climb on to the ledge. I was trying to give it a lift by pulling the rope so it can climb up on its own.

“The security personnel stopped me. I called the Bomba (Fire and Rescue Department Sarawak), but they were overwhelmed with the flood situations to be able to dispatch a team immediately,” she told DayakDaily when contacted today.

She also learnt that the traps had been set up for quite some time because apparently ‘someone’ had been ‘stealing’ the koi fishes there which turned out to be the otter(s).

“A couple of weeks back, I also saw a dog being trapped by the trap meant to catch the otters,” she added.

A team from Bomba Sarawak eventually arrived later and safely rescued the otter. It was put in a cage to curious onlookers of the encounter before handing over to the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC).

SFC, in its Facebook page, has confirmed that the otter has been handed over to the SWAT Team and it will be released back into its natural habitat.

The jogger, however, hopes that this encounter can be turned into a positive thing for MBKS such as that practised in Singapore where families of otters lived freely around the nature parks across the island republic.

Rather than keeping expensive koi fish, she suggested that MBKS put in other dispensable fishes in the pond and let the otters take refuge in the recreational park.

“So people can watch otters when visiting the park for recreational or a jog instead of trapping them and sending them away,” she added.
Meanwhile, SFC warned that otter is a protected species under the Wild Life Protection Ordinance, 1998.

Members of the public are thus advised to notify SFC or other relevant authorities of any wildlife sightings and not to take matters into their own hands. -DayakDaily