SINGAPORE: A rare sight on the tarmac of Changi Airport on Tuesday morning (Nov 14) when a family of otters was seen scurrying near a stationary Singapore Airlines plane.
"The Airside Safety team was activated to guide the otters safely out towards Changi Beach," said a Changi Airport Group (CAG) spokesperson in response to Channel NewsAsia's queries.
The spokesperson added that there was no disruption to airport operations.
Changi Airport said its surveillance system detected a family of otters early on Tuesday morning, adding that such sightings on its premises are rare.
"Besides regular wildlife patrols, a surveillance system is in place to prevent and detect foreign object debris, including wildlife," said the CAG spokesperson.
"Safety is a top priority at Changi Airport – should any wildlife be detected on the runway, flight operations will be halted temporarily so that the safety team can attend to the situation immediately."
The otters are likely part of the family spotted at Pasir Ris, said N Sivasothi, a senior lecturer of biological sciences at the National University of Singapore.
Mr Sivasothi, who also runs the OtterWatch group which consolidates otter sightings in Singapore, told Channel NewsAsia that this was his first time he has heard of otters at Changi Airport.
"Otters regularly explore new areas adjacent to their territories to look for suitable places to hunt for food, rest, sleep and breed," he said, adding that the animals also search for new areas when they have lost existing territories.
"If an area is unsuitable, they will not stay there for long."
Mr Sivasothi added that it was important for airports to have a wildlife hazard management plan to prevent wildlife from entering.
As for members of the public who come across otters, Mr Sivasothi's advice is that they should not approach the animals and just enjoy watching them from a distance.