Singapore’s native otter family, the Bishan family, has won the hearts of both locals and people around the world. After being included in David Attenborough’s documentary Wild City, these cute creatures, initially spotted in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in 2014, have acquired local fame and international renown. However, videos of their fights with rival Marina otters and their propensity for breaking into homes to gorge on koi fish have brought controversy to their rise to prominence. Google debuted a special Google Doodle on August 7 to honour the popularity of the Bishan otters. It featured five meticulously crafted felt otters against a picture of Marina Bay Sands.
In a local election taken seven years ago on August 7th, Singaporeans chose the Bishan otters as the emblem representing Singapore on its 51st birthday. They became cherished local icons due to this momentous occasion, capturing the admiration and adoration of the populace. After not being seen since the 1970s, the otters’ 2014 discovery at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park signalled their comeback, becoming an essential component of Singapore’s natural legacy.
When David Attenborough’s film Wild City featured the Bishan otters, their notoriety soared to unprecedented heights. These endearing critters gained international followers who fell in love with their lively behaviours and tight-knit family ties thanks to their exposure on a global platform. Their ability to adapt to urban settings was demonstrated in the documentary, underscoring the necessity of animal protection in cities.
The Bishan otters have not always been without controversy, despite their lovable allure. Their territorial disputes with their rival population, the Marina otters, have frequently made headlines. The dynamic relationships among otter families in the city have come to light due to the widespread internet distribution of videos of these altercations. Additionally, the Bishan otters have come under fire for repeatedly breaking into houses to eat koi fish, which has caused friction between otter fans and the property owners who are impacted.
The rise of the Bishan otter family from local legends to global superstars is proof of the effectiveness of conservation efforts for wildlife and the enduring fascination people have with these alluring species. Their existence in densely populated Singapore serves as a reminder of how nature and urban life must coexist in harmony. Even if the Bishan otters continue to fascinate viewers worldwide, efforts to safeguard and preserve their natural habitats are still essential to guarantee the survival of this adorable species.