Motorists and Cyclists Advised to Look Out for Stray Otters

Togoparts Editorial Team | 13th May 2016 | NEWS

Low tides force otters to cross East Coast Park Service Road in order to get to their holt, putting them at risk of being accidentally run over by motorists and cyclists.

If you’ve recently been driving a car or riding a bicycle along East Coast Park Service Road, you may have seen one of these furry creatures:

The frequency of crossings has been increasing in recent days. I hope the authorities can act fast to avoid any accidents.

A Dangerous Detour

Weeks ago, a pack of otters made their home at East Eco Park, at a playground near Fort Road. Making regular trips to the sea, the creatures normally use a 2-meter high canal to get to their holt. However, when the tide is low, the canal is rendered inaccessible to them, forcing the marine mammals to take a detour. There were instances when some otters cross the road carrying pups on their mouths.

Safe Cycling Task Force president Steven Lim has posted a few advisories to motorists and cyclists alike to keep an eye out for the animals crossing the road.

“The frequency of crossings has been increasing in recent days. I hope the authorities can act fast to avoid any accidents,” said Mr Lim in one of his recent Facebook posts.

Mr. Lim also said that it’s not just the otters that are in danger everytime one crosses the road.

“For example, if a car jam-brakes when there’s an otter on the road, cyclists could be affected too.”


Minimizing the Risks

A proposal to build a temporary structure designed to make the canal accessible to the otters during low-tide has been rejected. In the meantime, the Land Transport Authority and Nparks has made a joint statement saying they are currently working together to put up new signs to alert motorists and cyclists. Camera traps will also be set up near the holt to keep an eye on the otters.

A very popular cycling route, East Coast Park Service Road experiences plenty of traffic, especially during weekends.

Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Lee said that the definition of “animals” under the Road Traffic Act will be reviewed. Animal welfare groups in Singapore have been calling for amendments to make the definition of the term include cats and other wild animals that may be potential victims of road accidents.