At the end of the month, on Wednesday, May 31st, we will be celebrating World Otter Day! Join us on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to celebrate these cute and playful creatures and bring awareness to the threats they face! Unfortunately, 12 of the 13 otter species are declining in numbers and are at least Vulnerable to extinction. Cambodia’s three otter species are classified as Vulnerable or Endangered according to the IUCN Red List. Cambodia’s smooth-coated otter, small-clawed otter, and hairy-nosed otter are all threatened by the destruction of wetland habitats due to development activities, water contamination from pesticides, depletion of prey base, and poaching. In Cambodia, otters are believed to have medicinal properties and are hunted for their fur and skulls.
To celebrate World Otter Day, we would like to build a waterfall for the four families of smooth coated otters that we care for at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center. These otters are extremely curious and playful so it takes a lot of enrichment to keep them as stimulated as they would be in the wild. Their caretakers are constantly giving them new toys that help them stay active and that mimic behaviors that they would need in the wild. The otters are provided with everything from hammocks to floating rafts, rope balls, scatter feeds on land and even live fish in their ponds. A waterfall would be an incredible source of enrichment for these spirited animals as it stimulates a stream environment, making hunting a bit more challenging and preparing them for a life in the wild, should a release site become available. Help us build an otter waterfall this World Otter Day so that the otters can celebrate too!