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Rise in Asian otters being kept as pets
An increasing number of people are keeping otters as pets in Southeast Asia.
Craze fuelled by social media and ‘otter cafes’

Asian otters are on the verge of extinction thanks to a rise in people keeping them as pets, according to charity World Animal Protection (WAP).

The organisation says there’s a ‘dramatic and troubling’ surge in exotic animals being kept as pets in Southeast Asia, with the latest otter craze being fuelled by social media influencers and interactive ‘otter cafes’.

An undercover investigation by WAP revealed the illegal hunting, trafficking and breeding of otters across Thailand, Japan and Indonesia to satisfy the increasing demand. It found that otter cubs are being snatched from their parents in the wild and unearthed evidence of laundering through captive breeding facilities.

The investigation also uncovered reported incidents of suggested involvement of government in facilitating the trade. In one report from Indonesia, a government worker requested operations on otters to remove the gland that causes them to smell, to make them more appealing as pets.

More than a dozen animal cafes in Japan feature otters and it was here that WAP found that welfare is being compromised for the sake of entertainment.

The otters can be heard whimpering and making distress calls while customers are interacting with them, the report notes. When not interacting with customers, they are being kept in cramped, solitary conditions with no natural light or access to water.

Cassandra Koenen, global head of Wildlife not Pets says: “Just because a wild animal is cute, it does not mean you should take it home with you. Unfortunately, this fact appears to be lost on many people as they are influenced by social media, and influencers showing them off as fun and cool pets. 
 
“Once  otters are in people’s homes, there  is  no  realistic  way to replicate the space and freedom these animals  would have in the wild.  Many  animals  are kept in spaces vastly smaller than their natural habitats  and  they don’t have  the  correct nutrition, even if owners  have their best intentions  to feed them properly.”  
 

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Pair of endangered Amur leopard cubs born at Colchester Zoo

News Story 1
 Keepers at Colchester Zoo are hailing the arrival of a pair of critically endangered Amur leopard cubs.

The cubs were born to first-time parents Esra and Crispin on the 9 September. This is the first time the Zoo has bred Amur leopard cubs on-site.

Amur leopards originate from the Russian Far East and north-east China. In the wild they are threatened by climate change, habitat loss, deforestation and the illegal wildlife trade.

The cubs are said to be “looking well” and are expected to emerge from their den in a few weeks.  

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BEVA survey seeks views about antibiotic use in horses

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Designed by researchers at the University of Liverpool and incoming BEVA president Tim Mair, the survey aims to fill gaps in knowledge about how antimicrobials are being used in equine practice and the landscape of resistant infections encountered in equine practice.

Researchers hope the results will lead to a greater understanding of the role of antimicrobial treatment and antimicrobial resistance in horses and protect antibiotics for the future of equine and human health.