Otter spotted for the first time in Kuching city

The otter caught at MBKS headquarters is placed in a cage before being picked up by SFC

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Jan 14: With the encroachment by humans of their natural habitat, it seems that animals that once lived in the outer periphery of Kuching are now becoming semi-urbanite dwellers. This the case of an otter that was caught at the Kuching South City Council (MBKS) headquarters here.

MBKS Mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng who was surprised by the encounter revealed that it was the first time an otter had appeared in the city and he suspected there could be more than one.

“It so happened that we realised that the otters have been eating the koi fishes in the pond which were given to MBKS by a friend of mine.

“We don’t know how the otter got here, maybe from the big drains around the area and there are not only one but a few of them,” he told DayakDaily when contacted today.

Wee explained that the traps intended for the otters and other animals such as snakes were set up at certain parts near the building out of the public’s way for safety precautions.

“It is an area out of public access to avoid them trespassing the property,” he said.

On the suggestion to keep the otter as an attraction in the popular park, Wee explained that the council cannot keep it as otters like any wildlife are a protected species which must be handed over to the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC).

“Furthermore, the environment around the park is not safe and conducive for its survival.

“But we will see how it goes, we probably have to remove the koi fish. There are multi-species of fish in the lake already.

“We realised this is something we cannot predict as we never expect an otter to roam the city,” he added.

Meanwhile, the inquisitive otter was trapped when its tail got entangled in a rope hanging from the ledge of the entrance to the basement carpark of MBKS headquarters early this morning.

A team from the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) Sarawak arrived at the scene and rescued the otter before it was handed over to the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) SWAT team to release it back to its natural habitat.

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