How sure are we that the endangered species in Palawan are not at risk? Why do these animals need more attention?
Otter is one of the endangered species in the Philippines that are being hunted and killed by poachers. As a result this species of otters might actually disappear in no time.
The Local Government in Palawan are doing their best to stop the illegal catching and selling of the considered endangered species, but some still get through. The markets from other countries sell animals for pets, meats and furs and the demand continued to rise.
An Otter is a small semi aquatic mammal that is found in mountain streams and wetlands. It is also called as the Asian small-clawed otter, oriental small-clawed otter, or small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus) and has been claimed as the smallest otter in the world. The fur has a combination of brown and creamed-colored, has small skulls, naked rhinarium and is active at night.
The Otter in Palawan was accidentally discovered during Cleopatra's Needle Forest Reserve during the filming. It was caught on camera traps during the rapid biodiversity assessment in 2015 by the group of scientists. Otters can only be found in several countries in Southeast Asia like IslandsIslands in Sumatra, Java, Borneo and Palawan, West Bengal, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, and in coastal regions of Odisha.
It is locally known as dungon, pangkat-pangkatan and fish dog. They love to swim and dip into the waters. They are fed on frogs, crabs, mudskippers and fish. Sometimes they also catch snakes, rats and rice field fishes.
Last year, in May 2020, a different kind of Otter was found in Taganak Islands in Tawi-tawi. It has been identified as a Smooth-coated Otters (Lutrogale perspicillata) which possibly came from Sarawak, Malaysia. This particular sea otter exists in Malaysia and was believed to arrive after looking for a new habitat or food.
It is the second species of Otter that can be found in the Philippines. After a few months, in September, three pups appeared from the den. A video was taken showing the adult otter playing with the pu. The reason on how and why the Smooth-coated Otters reached the Island is unanswered but the local government are coordinating with the Turtle Islands’ Protected Area Supervisor Office under Region Vll and other agencies to make sure that the newly appeared will be protected during their stay.
These two species of Otters can grow in population by the help of the local government and the residents. As Otters were believed to be sold for house pets and for their meats it is dangerous to ignore these animals to be taken away from nature.
The Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act also known as the Republic Act No. 9147 provides the protection and conservation of wildlife and their habitats. The violators or illegal sellers of wildlife will face charges against the law.