Otters spotted on Changi Airport tarmac
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.”
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.
A group of otters was seen scurrying around Changi Airport’s tarmac.