The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) said that the juvenile Asian small-clawed otter which they released into the wild on November 2 is “thriving in its ideal home”, even after an international non-profit group questioned its handling.
PCSD, in a statement issued on Wednesday, said that the juvenile otter (Aonyx cinereus) was found in a “healthy environment” with an “otter population observed nearby and no human settlement” after the government environment agency conducted a release and monitoring protocol along with its staff, members of IUCN Otter Specialist Group, and Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) personnel.
The statement defended the handling of the animal by its wildlife officers, stating it was “based on sound considerations, the attending circumstances and the recommendations of local animal experts.”
“There were also no natural predators of otters observed in the area, thus making it an ideal home for them,” the PCSD statement added.
Earlier, an international organization dedicated to otters cautioned the PCSD for releasing an otter cub back to the wild, insisting that it will not survive on its own.
Grace Yoxon, director of the International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF), a non-profit organization based in Scotland, in an email addressed to the PCSD on November 9, requested for the protocols set by PCSD in ensuring “best possible care” for rescued otters and “not [being] condemned to die”.
“If, for example, a human baby was found in a park it would not be taken to a housing area and “released” in the hope that it would find its mother or somehow survive on its own. A human would stand a better chance as someone would presumably take it somewhere safe. But this otter was taken somewhere believed to be safe and then this did not turn out to be the case,” Yoxon previously wrote PCSD.
Locally known as “dungon”, international organizations for otters had since been critical to care and environmental protocols by local officials, citing that otters are only found in Palawan which makes the population even more important.