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IOSF Emergency Fund for Rescued Pet Otters

IOSF Rescued Pet Otters Fund

There are various rescue centres in Southeast Asia caring for otters which have been confiscated from the pet trade, including PTWRC in Cambodia.  However, we are also working with centres in Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. 

So we have set up a special fund to support these rescued pet otters.

Here is more information on these centres:

Save Vietnam’s Wildlife (SVW) - In November 2019, a truck trafficking 19 Asian small-clawed otters and one monkey was stopped by police and the quick response team of SVW went to rescue the animals. Unfortunately, four otters had already died and the rest were in a poor condition with various wounds. They were given first aid before transfer to Pu Mat National Park for a further health check-up and intensive care.  The eight males and seven females were all very small and four still had their eyes closed.  Initially the keepers had to feed them a small amount of milk every three hours, day and night, but despite this three did not survive.  The bigger animals have now been released but some still remain and two more came in at the end of September 2020.


Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) - In 2019 WFFT received a 10 month old Asian small-clawed otter, who was yet another victim of the illegal wildlife trade.  Pun Pun (right) was only two weeks old when she was purchased illegally through a Facebook page.  The family thought she would make a cute and wonderful pet, but soon found that she wasn’t so appealing when she started to scream, scratch, bite and toilet all over the place. Luckily for Pun Pun she ended up at WFFT where she was initially placed in quarantine before being introduced to other rescued otters.  This brought the total number of otters in their care to 17.


Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre (PTWRC), Cambodia - You have already read about the great work of Phnom Tamao but they are also the only facility in the world which has experience in caring for hairy-nosed otters.  This is not an easy species to look after as they are very susceptible to water quality and so fresh water must be brought in daily from Phnom Penh.  In addition, they have 22 smooth-coated otters and one Asian small-clawed.


Indonesia - There are two centres in Indonesia, Cikananga on Java and SUMECO on Sumatra. 

Cikananga currently have seven Asian small-clawed otters in care, all rescued from the pet trade.  Some of these were in very poor condition and one (Rowena, right) had been surviving on dried cat food!  With proper care and diet she soon began to put on weight.



SUMECO was caring for two Asian small-clawed otters, which have now have been released, and one Eurasian otter – a species which had not been recorded there in 80 years.  Then they received three hairy-nosed otters so we immediately put them in touch with Nick Marx at PTWRC for advice.  All were rescued from the pet trade.  Sadly the smallest of the hairy-nosed otters, a female, did not survive but the other two males are doing very well. 

A while back they received three young Asian small-clawed otter cubs, still with their eyes closed.  Despite the best possible care all three of these sadly died.   


 All of these rescue centres provide exceptional care and the otters are kept in enclosures which are as natural as possible.  The aim for all is eventually to return them to the wild where they belong, but this has to be done very carefully so that they do not risk being hunted or caught again.  The animals are assessed to make sure they are showing “normal” wild behaviour and then monitored after release to ensure they are integrating back into the wild.  Unfortunately, if they are judged not to be able to survive in the wild then they remain at the sanctuary.

IOSF has set up this emergency fund to help these sanctuaries and their care of rescued otters.  It is always hard for them to raise the necessary funds for food, vet treatment, etc.  But now with the pandemic it is even worse.  There are no volunteers to help with the care of the animals and many of the volunteers also contribute towards costs which keep the sanctuaries running.