There appears to be a craze in Japan for keeping otters as pets. It’s a dangerous craze because it could drive otters into extinction, conservationists have warned.
Otter pups are taken from the wild, from their mothers in order to feed a commercial demand supplying people who think that otters make good pets. They don’t. We are told by The Times that Indonesian poachers have been caught with baskets full of dozens of otter pups. Their parents are often shot after being smoked out of their dens.
For every pet baby otter, there is likely to be a dead adult.” — Cassandra Koenen of the World Animal Protection charity.
Apparently, there are otter cafes in Tokyo where clients can play with them. It’s illegal to trade otters without a permit.
People have even been caught trying to smuggle otters through airports in Thailand. Pet otters are also becoming popular in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. Corrupt officials are facilitating the trade.
Comment: this is another example of cute wild species being caught, taken from their parents, and shipped to various countries to be sold as pet companion animals. Cheetah cubs are another example. They feed a market in the Middle East, incidentally. There are other wild cat species which are traded in this way such as margays, a small, acrobatic feline living in the trees of central and southern America. Humans have an insatiable appetite for exotic wild pets. It’s the reason why cat breeders breed wild cat hybrids such as the Chausie, Bengal cat and Savannah cat. There are many other hybrids of this nature. They are normally unsuitable as pets for most people and in most circumstances unless they are low filials such F5.
I would like to see trade in otters made an illegal, period. You can drop the licences entirely in my opinion.