A call for artists around the world to create otter art and help stop the illegal otter pet trade in Southeast Asia
It is seriously concerning that otters are being traded in the illegal pet trade across Southeast Asia, and in Japan in particular. The predominant online content available these days, shows “cute” pet otters in unnatural environments, doing “cute” things, enticing more people to procure otters for themselves as pets. Most of us are unaware of the stress and problems faced by these charismatic wild animals, once caught and brought into the pet trade and there is limited information online in this regard. Read more about it in the Otter facts document below.
2016Surge in online pet trade2016 seems to be a breakoff year for pet otter online searches. In many countries across the world, the demand for them seems to have surged with people openly selling otters, especially on Facebook.
2017Otter seizuresAs compared to 2007, seizures of live otters increased sixteen times to 32, mostly at airports. This could indicate improved surveillance capabilities, but also an increase in the international illegal otter trade.
2018The Otter Cafe phenomenonThe number of Otter cafes in Japan cross 10 in number, at an alarming rate. (Just a simple Google maps search will show you the locations of more than 7 in Japan itself).
2019Uplifting 3 species in CITESAn effort is ongoing to raise the status of Smooth-coated otter, Small-clawed otter and the Hairy-nosed otter to Appendix I (the most protected internationally) in CITES.
What are the aims of the project?
‘The Otter Collective’ project main goal is to counter the current online “craze for pet otters” content with online otter art, so that people have more options to appreciate these wonderful animals and learn more about them. When searching online to buy a pet otter, using terms like “buy otter”, “pet otter” or “otter price” may lead you here, where you should read and become aware of what’s going on.
We are all aware of how art provides a clever platform to reveal worldly ecological issues to the masses, which is the essence of this project - combining art and information to expose the true side of illegal otter pet trade as well as to showcase the species as a Wild Animal that requires to remain wild.