New BBC Earth documentary features S’pore otters, producer says filming them like watching otter soap opera

Singapore otters make appearance in new BBC Earth documentary

Singapore’s iconic otters will be making an appearance in the latest BBC Earth documentary, ‘Mammals’.

Featured in episode two of a six-part animal-centric documentary, it shines the spotlight on Singapore’s smooth-coated mammals as they traverse around the island.

Image courtesy of BBC News

The documentary, which is narrated by British biologist Sir David Attenborough, explores the relationship between wildlife and urban spaces, shedding light on how mammals successfully adapt to Earth’s ever-changing environment.

Singapore otters make appearance in documentary

In episode two, titled ‘The New Wild’, which will air this Sunday (14 April), episodic producer Lydia Baines follows a family of 14 otters on their adventures in the Little Red Dot.

The episode shows how they made their home in the city state’s waterways and follows them as they bravely navigate their way across busy highways in the city.

Image courtesy of BBC News

The mammals can also be seen avoiding dogs, frolicking in Singapore’s waterways and catching fish for a bite to eat.

Image courtesy of BBC News

It promises to be a roller coaster of emotions, as the family of otters get separated from each other amid the chaos of the bustling city, and how they display pure delight when they are reunited again.

Otters and humans alike

Speaking to MS News, Baines said filming Singapore’s iconic mammals was “fascinating and enchanting”.

They were “constantly interacting with the environment”, with periods of intense activity interspersed with naps before they start again, she observed.

What surprised her most, she said, was that each member of the family had its own personality.

“They clearly had their own relationships with each other, just as in any family dynamic, but watching that all play out was absorbing,” she explained. “It was like watching an otter soap opera.”

Image courtesy of BBC News

Baines also shared how easy it was to relate to the otters, being mammals ourselves.

Keeping up with the speedy mammals

Despite enjoying the filming process, she admitted the otter episode was one of the most “physically demanding shoots” she had ever been on.

In addition to the Covid-19 mask restrictions and Singapore’s sweltering weather, the production team had to keep up with the otters’ fast speed.

“We had to buy a trolley to put our kit in to pull behind us as we ran,” Baines said, adding that once the otters got going, they “set off at a real pace”.

Image courtesy of BBC News

Baines and her team also had to find ways to follow the slippery mammals when they disappeared into Singapore’s underground water system.

“We quickly realised that we could sometimes hear them if we put our ears to drains around the city. We made quite an interesting sight — a group of sweaty film makers in safari gear, with a trolley, listening down drains,” she shared.

Despite the otters’ adorable appearance, she said Singaporeans and visitors should be cautious when running into the protective mammals.

“As with any wild animal, people should keep a safe and respectful distance, so that the family does not think their young are under threat.”

Catch ‘Mammals’ every Sunday at 8:00pm on BBC Earth, available on StarHub channel 407, Singtel channel 203 and BBC Player.

Also read: Otters Cross Orchard Road With Police Officer’s Help, He Stops Traffic For Their Safety

Otters Cross Orchard Road With Police Officer’s Help, He Stops Traffic For Their Safety

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