LIVE CITES - Chapter Animals fights for Asiatic otters

Is it normal to still see, in 2019, animals considered as mere objects? The answer is no. Yet, mainly in Japan, many thematic bars / cafes exist. It could be funny, if these coffees did not contain exotic species. Asian otters, owls, snakes, turtles or meerkats, these animals pass from hand to hand, to the delight of the youngest ... And great. Yet it is this kind of activity, with many specimens taken in the wild, that enhances the trafficking of species.




To continue our round of voting at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), taking place in Geneva, Chapter Animals would like to look into the case of a species that is too under-emphasized. Otters, and mainly otters from Asia, are living a real hell in the wild. If this is, in large part, due to the fashion of new pets, otters suffer greatly from poaching and wild harvesting. Regarded as a cute animal, with many videos on the internet showing otters taking a bath in a bathtub or turning on the tap alone, the otter is not a pet.

In many Asian countries, fashion has emerged in recent years: themed cafes. They are numerous in Asia, but explode especially in Japan. On the maïd-café, on mangas, on films, it plunges the customers in a magical and exceptional atmosphere getting closer to the desired universe. However, many themed cafes exist and they do not talk about pop-culture but animals. If it would be educational, it would not be a problem. However, many living individuals are available to customers of these cafes.

Often, they live in cages far too small for them and pass from hand to hand all day long. Depending on the species, guests can have fun with the animals, hug them, hold them on their shoulders or hold them on a leash. And most of these individuals come directly from wildlife. They are removed from their natural environment and put in contact with men directly. They are under constant stress, ranging from capture to deprivation of liberty and movement while being manipulated by men. Asian and Asiatic otters are among the unfortunate people who are becoming more and more popular in Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Most disturbing was that after spending a day playing with an otter, many people think that the animal can be domesticated without problem and that they can own it at home. Which is not the case. Still, the pet otter demand is strong, very strong. Poaching is therefore becoming more regular and the species is considered today threatened in its natural habitat. In addition to poaching, overfishing, trapping, killing of fishers and use of its organs in traditional medicine make it a rapidly declining species.

That is why India, Nepal and the Philippines want the otter center to move from Appendix II to I, thereby prohibiting its hunting and capture for captivity. Bangladesh joins their request for the otter from Asia. To support their claim, the countries show that more than 250 seizures have taken place, representing 6,010 Asian otters since 1,985, not counting the illegal catches that have been successful, catches for the captive industry (zoos, bar themed) and those killed by fishermen, considering them as direct competitors.

Chapter Animals, very active in Japan concerning elephants, foxes and pet stores can only support the demands of these four countries and ban the trade of African otters and Asia as a pet!