Ot­ters spot­ted on Changi Air­port tar­mac

The New Paper - - NEWS - JAN LEE

Some 10 ot­ters were spot­ted at Changi Air­port early yes­ter­day morn­ing dur­ing a heavy down­pour, wan­der­ing onto the tar­mac where a Sin­ga­pore Air­lines plane was parked.

A video clip posted on a Na­ture So­ci­ety Face­book page yes­ter­day shows the ot­ters wad­dling be­neath the sta­tion­ary plane be­fore mov­ing to the run­way.

A Changi Air­port Group (CAG) spokesman told The New Pa­per yes­ter­day their air­side safety team was ac­ti­vated to guide the ot­ters safely out to­wards Changi Beach. She said air­port op­er­a­tions were not dis­rupted.

The spokesman added: “Ot­ter sight­ings are a rare oc­cur­rence on Changi’s premises. Be­sides reg­u­lar wildlife pa- trols, a sur­veil­lance sys­tem is in place to pre­vent and de­tect for­eign ob­ject de­bris, in­clud­ing wildlife. Safety is a top pri­or­ity at Changi Air­port — should any wildlife be de­tected on the run­way, flight op­er­a­tions will be halted tem­po­rar­ily so that the safety team can at­tend to the sit­u­a­tion im­me­di­ately.”

SAFE

Mr Abbas Is­mail, course man­ager for Te­masek Polytech­nic’s diploma in avi­a­tion man­age­ment and ser­vices, said that al­though the ot­ters might be in dan­ger run­ning around the tar­mac, flights and pas­sen­gers should be safe.

He said: “In this in­stance, there is no air­craft move­ment, so there should not be any dan­ger.”

But Mr Is­mail ac­knowl­edged there would be a risk to flight safety if the ot­ters found their way onto a plane.

He said: “If they go up into the plane and per­haps bite some­thing or cause some dam­age that can­not be de­tected eas­ily, then yes, there is a chance of mal­func­tion.”

Wildlife con­sul­tant Subaraj Ra­jathu­rai said the an­i­mals most likely swam up­stream from the Changi River.

Mr Ra­jathu­rai said: “As the ot­ter pop­u­la­tion goes up, they have to find new ar­eas for food and homes, so they are con­stantly on the move.

“This is part of their jour­ney, a tem­po­rary ex­cur­sion.”

The ot­ters likely fol­lowed the wa­ter­way up to the air­port. He said bet­ter grat­ing for the wa­ter­way en­try at the air­port could re­solve the is­sue.

jan­lee@sph.com.sg

PHOTO: FACE­BOOK/OTTERWATCH

A group of ot­ters was seen scur­ry­ing around Changi Air­port’s tar­mac.

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