This little bundle of joy is ‘Jay’ an oriental small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus) pup that we received a call about a few days ago. The person that was keeping had acquired him a few days prior to contacting us from a friend as an unwanted pet. The team headed out to rescue this very young otter, he is approximately 3-4 months old and should still be with his mother. He as transported back to the WFFT Wildlife Rescue Centre.
Oriental small-clawed otters are currently listed as Vulnerable (VU) by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Throughout Asia the main threat to its continued survival is destruction of its habitats due to changing land use pattern in the form of developmental activities. In many parts of Asia, the habitats have been reduced due to reclamation of peat swamp forests and mangroves, aquaculture activities along the intertidal wetlands and loss of hill streams. Another important threat to Asian Small-clawed Otter is reduction in prey biomass due to over-exploitation, which make its remaining habitats unsustainable. Pollution is probably the single most important factor, causing decline in the population of many fish species. The threat posed by poaching, for the fur trade and pet trade, is still very significant in many parts of South Eat Asia and will certainly count as a major threat that needs to be constantly monitored. Sadly, an increase in keeping these animals as pets has been seen throughout Thailand. We are hearing reports of otter ‘farms’ where many are being specifically bred for the pet trade.
Jay has been with us for a few days now and is doing well. He is rather feisty and even at this young age can cause some damage with his sharp teeth and strong jaw. He is currently under the close supervision at the WFFT Wildlife Hospital, as he is of such a young age he is still drinking, however he is slowly being introduced to solid foods, this replicates a similar time that a mother otter in the wild would start introducing her pups to fish and other small vertebrates. We will keep you updated on his progress. Keep Wildlife Wild and Not as Pets!!!