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    Apr 08, 2016

    Otter pup free of fish hook but has small wound

    THE otter pup that was spotted on Saturday with a fish hook in its eye is now free of the barb.

    Facebook user Fast Snail, or Nick Soo, told My Paper yesterday that the pup had been spotted hook-free by about 10 otter watchers.

    "We have no idea how the hook was removed," said the 34-year-old engineer, who photographs and takes videos of otters as a hobby.

    "We believe it was pulled out by the otters themselves," he said.

    However, Mr Soo added that the pup has a small wound that is "slightly swollen".

    He said they will keep monitoring to make sure it is all right and thanked members of the public for tracking it.

    The pup, believed to be four to five months' old, is part of a second litter born to two otters often spotted at Bi-shan-Ang Mo Kio Park. The family of 10 is affectionately called Bishan 10.

    News of the injured pup broke when otter watcher Yane Kang, 40, snapped photos of the pup with the hook in its eye on Saturday evening.

    The incident cast a spotlight on irresponsible anglers, some of whom fish illegally.

    Last year, a man turned himself in to the police after a video Mr Soo had taken of him appearing to hook an otter with his fishing line went viral.

    The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority did not take any enforcement action against him due to insufficient evidence. He was issued a fine for fishing in a prohibited area.

    Fishing is not allowed at all waterways except Pang Sua Canal, a spokesman for national water agency PUB told The Straits Times in a report yesterday.

    PUB issued about 400 summonses for illegal fishing last year. Fines of up to $3,000 can be issued to those caught fishing in unauthorised areas.

    Anbarasi Boopal, deputy chief executive at animal welfare group Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres), said they "are relieved that the hook has come off the pup and very thankful to the otter watching community for the updates".

    "We truly hope that there is increased awareness on the plight of wildlife who suffer from such illegal and irresponsible fishing activities in our waterways," she added.