Photo credit: GOOGLE

Bishan otters make appearance on Google Search homepage

The otters were first spotted at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in 2014.

Farhana Subuhan

A punctuation enthusiast who thinks misplaced apostrophes are a crime.

Published: 7 August 2023, 9:22 AM

The Bishan Otter family made an appearance on Google’s Search homepage on Monday (Aug 7).

Classified as a critically endangered species in Singapore, the five otters were first spotted at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in 2014 – a rare sighting within the country’s urban vicinity then.

In 2016, the family of otters had its first taste of fame when English broadcaster Sir David Attenborough based a documentary on their lives. The same year, Singaporeans voted in a poll by The Straits Times to select the otters to represent the country on its 51st birthday.

There has since been a notable increase in the number of otter families residing in Singapore, owing to local conservation efforts to protect its habitats and clean the waterways. The nation is also ranked number one in the world for Google searches related to otters over the last year.

The tech giant has come up with three tips to maximise your success of otter sighting in Singapore ahead of the National Day public holiday:

1. Plan your route in advance

Otters are commonly spotted in many locations throughout Singapore, with top location searches on Google in the past six months being places such as Singapore River, Marina Bay and Singapore Botanic Gardens.

However, planning a route may get messy when you are dealing with numerous locations. Google recommends organising all the locations you are heading to with your very own list on Google Maps for easy reference.


The lists are also shareable within the Google Maps app. PHOTO CREDIT: GOOGLE

2. Scout out locations on your list

If you are planning in advance, you can make use of Immersive View on Google Maps where you can virtually navigate through a multidimensional view of where you are headed.

Google explains that this process is facilitated by Artificial Intelligence (AI), which combines billions of images with reliable data overlays. The feature allows you to utilise the time slider, enabling you to visualise variations in weather and crowd density throughout different times of the day.

If you are intending to visit Marina Bay, one of the prime spots for otter sightings, you can also explore the vicinity around the ArtScience museum from an elevated perspective.


With Immersive View, one can experience what a neighbourhood, landmark or city is like before heading there. PHOTO CREDIT: GOOGLE

3. Guidelines when interacting with otters

Unsure on how to interact with the cute critters? Bard, an AI experiment by Google, suggests refraining from feeding the otters and avoiding littering or leaving sharp objects in the water.

Similar to other wild animals, otters have their own food supplies and innate eating habits that keep the ecosystem healthy.

By adhering to these guidelines, you can ensure the safety of yourself and the otters, preserving the cleanliness of their habitats.

If you are interested in discovering more about other animals, you can continue the fun by meeting them up-close and bringing them to your living room with AR on Google. All you have to do is search for “cat”, “dog”, “koala” or even “Tyrannosaurus Rex” on your Google search mobile browser and tap “View in 3D”.


AR uses your device to blend digital content into the real world. PHOTO CREDIT: GOOGLE

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