Bishan otter family

The Bishan Otter Family, also known as the Bishan 10[1] and previously known as the Bishan 5,[2] is a family of smooth-coated otters that reside in Singapore. The otters have become a popular local and international attraction since they were first spotted in 2014.[1][3][4]

Bishan Otter Family
Otters in Singapore.jpg
Otters spotted in Jurong Lakeside Park
Other name(s)Bishan 5, Bishan 10
SpeciesL. perspicillata


The Bishan otter family were first sighted at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in 2014.[5] Originally dubbed the "Bishan 5", the otter family first gained national attention in 2015 when the National Parks Board uploaded pictures and videos of them on their Facebook page.[6] That same year, the Bishan otter family relocated to Marina Bay after chasing out another otter family that had been living there.[7] They later became known as the "Bishan 10" after the birth of five new pups in 2016.[2]

The smooth-coated otter is currently classified as a critically endangered species in Singapore, and until 1998 there had been no reported sightings since the 1970s.[1][3][5] The emergence of the Bishan otter family, along with several other otter families, has been hailed by The Economist as a sign of the success of Singapore's greening policy.[3]

Celebrity statusEdit

The otter family starred in the David Attenborough documentary Wild City and their exploits are frequently covered by the Singapore media.[1] In 2016, the otter family was voted by The Straits Times readers to represent Singapore on her 51st birthday, beating Singlish, the thumbdrive (which was invented by a Singapore company), the Singapore passport and the Caméra d'Or-winning Singaporean film Ilo Ilo.[8] They also had received other international press coverage from the French magazine Terre Sauvage.[9]


Marina otter familyEdit

The Bishan otter family had been involved in several fights with another otter family, dubbed the Marina otter family by the local Singaporean media.[10] In 2015, the Bishan otters relocated to Marina Bay after chasing out the Marina otter family that had been living there.[7] Another clash between the two otter families resulted in the death of a Marina otter pup.[10] On 11 June 2017, members of the public intervened to protect the Marina otters from their Bishan rivals by scaring the latter off with loud noises. The incident sparked an internet debate concerning human intervention in fights between the two otter families.[10]

Illegal fishingEdit

There have been reports of wild otters, including the Bishan otters, being injured by illegal fishing activities in Singapore.[11] In January 2017, a female otter believed to be one of the Bishan otters was found with a fishing line and hook embedded in its body.[12] In April 2017, another otter, also thought to be one of the Bishan otters, was injured when a fishing hook became entangled in one of its front paws.[11]

On 14 June 2017, a suspected member of the Bishan otter family was found dead in an illegal fishing trap along the Marina Promenade. The Public Utilities Board have stated that they will take enforcement action against the man caught setting up the traps.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d Bailey, Rebecca (5 July 2016). "Singapore's celebrity urban otter family". BBC News.
  2. ^ a b Nurulnadiah Md Noh (13 February 2016). "Bishan 5 now Bishan 10 with new otter pups". The Straits Times.
  3. ^ a b c "Move over, Merlion: The return of long-absent otters is a sign of the city's greening". The Economist. 25 August 2016.
  4. ^ "New video showcases footage of 50-strong otter population in Singapore". The Straits Times. 10 August 2016.
  5. ^ a b Wee, Lea (24 July 2016). "Mad about otters: Enthusiasts look out for charming animals". The Straits Times.
  6. ^ "5 new pups for Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park otter family". AsiaOne. 12 February 2016.
  7. ^ a b Chew, Hui Min (10 April 2017). "Five new baby otters draw crowds at Singapore River". The Straits Times.
  8. ^ Lee, Min Kok (7 August 2016). "ST readers choose Bishan otters to represent Singapore in her 51st year". The Straits Times.
  9. ^ "LA FORCE DU VIVANT : Les loutres de Singapour, une affaire de famille". Terre Sauvage. 6 January 2019.
  10. ^ a b c Goh, Timothy (12 June 2017). "To help or not to help: Human intervention in otter family feud sparks online debate". The Straits Times.
  11. ^ a b Lee, Min Kok (17 April 2017). "Otter hurt by fishing hook at Marina Bay". The Straits Times.
  12. ^ Lam, Lydia (2 January 2017). "Bishan 'mum' otter with new litter spotted with fish hook in its body". The Straits Times.
  13. ^ Lam, Lydia (16 June 2017). "Dead otter found in cage along Marina Promenade, man caught setting traps: PUB". The Straits Times.