‘I really assumed I was heading to die’: Man who was attacked by otters at Botanic Gardens, Setting News & Leading Stories


SINGAPORE – A man’s visit to the Singapore Botanic Gardens finished with a trip to the healthcare facility, soon after a team of otters bit him in the legs, buttocks and finger.

The attack on Nov 30 remaining Mr Graham George Spencer with more than 20 wounds, with some requiring stitches.

It is not the very first time that otters have attacked individuals right here but animal welfare teams have said the animals are not typically intense and their steps could have been induced by their notion that they were being threatened.

Recounting the Nov 30 practical experience to The Straits Times on Thursday (Dec 9), Mr Spencer, a Singapore lasting resident, mentioned: “I really assumed I was heading to die – they have been heading to kill me.”

The maid company operator, who is British and in his 60s, stated he was attacked at about 6.40am. He was at the end of a routine morning walk with a mate, and was approaching the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ entrance at Taman Serasi.

He spotted about 20 otters crossing a dimly-lit route about 4m in entrance of him. This was the initial time he experienced noticed otters in the park since he started his early morning walks about 5 months ago.

The animals were being shifting quietly but “went ridiculous” just after yet another man ran to them. They tried to bite the runner, who avoided their assaults and moved earlier Mr Spencer.

“All of a sudden, they ought to have assumed I was (the runner),” he additional.

The otters focused him, with some biting his ankles and producing him to fall facedown. They zoomed in on his legs and buttocks, with 1 otter biting his finger.

His pal screamed and shouted at the animals, which stopped their action momentarily. The duo ran in the direction of a close by visitor centre with the otters giving chase for a small distance.

The centre was unattended when they arrived, with the guard manning it apparently returning from a split after about 10 minutes.

The guard presented bandages, with other park team subsequently attending to Mr Spencer. Declining an offer to be taken to a clinic, he and his friend headed to the close by Gleneagles Hospital.

He was supplied tetanus photographs and oral antibiotics, and experienced some wounds stitched up, prior to getting discharged on the similar day.

He has returned to the hospital a few times to address his wounds and has expended about $1,200 in health care costs.

dw otters sign 211209
A sign warning website visitors of what to do when encountering otters in the Botanic Gardens. ST Photograph: GIN TAY

He spoke to a representative from the Singapore Botanic Gardens on Friday (Dec 3), who explained to him that the authorities are investigating the incident.

Mr Spencer claimed he would like steps to be imposed to prevent a comparable attack. “You obtained to hold the community absent from (the otters) since this will materialize yet again,” he additional.

Mr Spencer, who claimed he has difficulty sitting down and is unable to snooze perfectly now, had before manufactured strategies to celebrate Christmas with his spouse and children in Britain but is unsure no matter whether he is nicely sufficient to journey.

Dr Tan Puay Yok, team director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, informed ST that the National Parks Board – which manages the Gardens – is mindful of an otter bite incident there and is in get in touch with with the victim.

He included that otter bites in the Gardens and  other parks  are exceptional.

Dr Tan claimed visitors  should  observe wildlife from a protected distance, and  avoid feeding or approaching them, especially “when there are pups as the grown ups can be protective in excess of their young”.

 “The Singapore Botanic Gardens’ volunteers and personnel observe the actions of the otters and teach the public on the value of observing them from a distance and not interacting with them,”  he added.

Signs with info on how the community can take care of encounters have been positioned through the Gardens.

This is not the to start with time otter attacks have created headlines listed here.

Shin Min Every day News documented in May this year that a 77-calendar year-outdated gentleman was bitten in the leg in Higher Boon Keng Highway close to the Kallang River.

A 5-calendar year-aged lady was bitten in Gardens by the Bay in 2017.

Mr Bernard Seah, a member of the Otter Functioning Group, thinks Mr Spencer was attacked by a family of easy-coated otters identified as the “Zouk family members” that have regularly visited the Singapore Botanic Gardens over the past couple a long time.

Mr Seah, who has been tracking movements of otters here considering the fact that 2012, said the spouse and children, which consist of nine grownups and 6 pups, are “the most human-tolerant otter loved ones” in Singapore.

“In my many years of documenting otters’ behaviours, I have hardly ever heard of these types of an intense assault. These types of assaults are not popular, and are probably to transpire when the grownup otters truly feel that the safety of their pups is threatened,” he added.

Ms Anbarasi Boopal, co-main executive of Animal Concerns Investigation and Education and learning Modern society (Acres), agreed, noting that otters are not commonly aggressive.

She included that defensive behaviour is standard of other social, wild animals these as wild pigs and macaques.

“As Singapore grows into a town in mother nature, encounters with wild animals will before long develop into inescapable. So the golden rule is really to preserve a safe and sound length from the animals,” explained Ms Boopal.

211209 online otter encounter
Photo: ST GRAPHICS

Mr Seah claimed otters “cannot differentiate in between a individual trying to consider a photograph of them and an individual seeking to assault them. So it is always greatest to retain a distance”.

He urged dad and mom to maintain look at of their kids in parks and mother nature reserves, and not enable them to run all over unsupervised.

Ms Boopal noted that when it is important to set up warning indicators in parks, it boils down to the public’s response.

“Otters and other wild animals can’t be skilled so I persuade all people to be aware when coming across such wildlife. Generally retain a protected length and do not provoke them,” she claimed.





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