At least six otters of a never-before-seen species in the Philippines were spotted at Turtle Islands in Tawi-Tawi. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region IX recorded that the two furry creatures were spotted in Taganak Island Tawi-Tawi. Initially, the otters were identified as Asian small-lawed otters, which is a species endemic to Palawan. However, officials have since ruled this out.
“So far, we don’t have a record of this species in the Philippines, this is the first time we saw such kind in the country,” said District 1 Community Environment and Natural Resources Office chief (CENRO) Abdulmukim Maruji.
According to Turtle Islands Wildlife Sanctuary (TIWS), Superintendent Minda Bairula, the otters were spotted on the island between May 15-22.
Two (2) Asian Small-clawed Otters Spotted at Turtle Islands in Tawi-Tawi
Taganak Turtle Island, Tawi-Tawi… The…
This marks the first time this otter species was found in the Philippines. Marji added that these otters could be found in Malaysia.
DENR IX will consult the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) to ask how they can protect the new species. Regional Executive Director Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez also said that they want to study the otter species so they can understand its needs and how to take care of them.
Officials are also currently conducting an information campaign among the residents of the island to make them understand how important it is not to catch or harm these new otter species. They have also coordinated with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Taganak Municipal PNP, and the local government unit to help monitor and protect this unique wildlife.
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