Last week, Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT), a Thai sanctuary and rescue group, received a call from a woman about an otter in need. The woman said she had found the baby animal near a weekend market in Bangkok, but WFFT believes she had purchased the infant as a pet but wasn’t able to care for it.
“She asked us for help, as she wanted the otter to have a good home and proper care,” WFFT wrote in a Facebook post.
Rescuers with WFFT had found a 3-month-old Asian small-clawed otter, they named Oscar. He was far too young to be separated from his mother. “At this stage in his life he would still be very dependent on his mother for milk, and would be with her 24 hours a day,” WFFT said.
They took this little bundle back to the sanctuary, where they quickly realized he loved food!
… especially when he had food with him.
Sadly, like many baby animals who end up in the exotic pet trade, Oscar was probably taken from his mother at a very young age after she was killed by poachers. Asian small-clawed otters, who are listed as vulnerable, are poached for their fur as well as for their babies, who can be sold as pets. Asian small-clawed otters are also losing territory due to human development, and their natural food sources are being depleted due to overfishing and pollution.
“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,” WFFT wrote. “Sadly an increase in keeping these animals as pets has been seen throughout Thailand.”
All of which make’s little Oscar’s survival that much more important. While it’s unclear if he will be able to be released into the wild, WFFT is determined to give the young otter everything he needs to thrive including, presumably, lots of food.
“He will be in the WFFT Wildlife Hospital for round the clock care for the next few months until he is old enough to be socialized with the other otters here at WFFT,” the group wrote. “Keep wildlife wild and not as pets.” To help care for Oscar and the many other animals WFFT takes in, you can make a donation here.
See below for more photos.