KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 — Otters have now been spotted in a lake in Subang Ria Park in Subang Jaya, Selangor, the latest in a series of sightings in public parks in the Klang Valley.
According to Subang Jaya’s community paper SJEcho, local residents jogging around the lake had seen five otters in the freshwater lake in recent months.
Resident Dr Yap Weng Fatt, who had shown SJEcho video recordings of the otters in the lake, was quoted as saying: “We spotted the otters in the water when we walked around the lake recently. We have been using this park for decades and this was our first time seeing otters in the water.”
According to the paper, the species of the otters spotted in the Subang Jaya lake are smooth-coated otters.
The paper cited Prof Shahrul Anuar of USM School of Biological Sciences as saying that hunting or keeping otters as pets without permits can be punished by a maximum RM100,000 fine or maximum three-year jail term or both in peninsular Malaysia, owing to their status as totally protected species under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.
He also reportedly urged the public not to disturb the otters or to feed them, but to instead keep the lake clean and not litter there as otters require clean water habitats.
“This is a pat on the back for the owner of the park. They have done well in caring for the environment and this has attracted otters to the lake,” he was quoted as saying by SJEcho.
Last October, Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB) also revealed that a planespotter had sighted otters near Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang, Selangor.
Last month, a jogger spotted two smooth-coated otters at the Taman Tasik Perdana or Perdana Botanical Garden in Kuala Lumpur.
Currently, Malaysia is home to four protected otter species: the smooth-coated otters (Lutrogale perspicillata) that are listed as “threatened”, Asian small-clawed otters (Amblonyx cinerea), hairy-nosed otters (Lutra sumatrana) and Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra).