The municipal government of Tawi-Tawi has adopted stricter measures to protect the small sea otters (Lutrogale perspicillata) that were spotted at the coasts of Taganak Island.

The sea otters were spotted in three different occasions since the middle of May, according to Turtle Islands Mayor Moh. Faizal Jamalul.

The smooth-coated otter lives in most of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, while some can be found in Iraq. They eat insects, crustaceans, birds, frogs, water rats, eggs and fish.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species (IUCN) listed them as Vulnerable due to habitat loss, pollution of wetlands, and poaching for the illegal wildlife trade.

“It was quite surprising to all of us in this town to see such kind of sea species (otter) in our coast line,” said Jumalul. “While the otters are in Taganak we will ensure they will be protected.”

The mayor said the otters could have drifted to the island, or could also be exploring for new habitat because they might have been disturbed, or just looking for food.

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