Borneo Jungle Diaries: Episode Four – Otters: A Family Portrait [UHD/4K] SZtv
In a jungle known for its fighting
beasties and creepy crawlies.. …there’s one animal that stands out as being a little lovier than the rest. These free spirited, fun-loving and family-oriented animals are smooth-coated otters. Otters are renowned for forming close-knit family units. They hunt together, play together.. and enjoy being in each other’s company
so much, they will often spend their.. ..entire life together. Just 20 minutes upriver from DGFC,
is this, the otters love den. And studying these animals is local Sabahan, Leona. And our goal today is to catch.. ..some candid shots of these mischievous
mammals. -Hi my name is Leona Wai. And I’m born and raised in Penampang. I’ve been studying otters for one year now. They’re such amazing creatures. Their social organization within
the family is really unique. I will be
finishing my project this month. I feel excited and sad at the same time. I have a mixed feeling. Here in DGFC, we are like family. Like we’re so close to each
other, with the staff, with the other researchers. Yeah, I will miss them. We’re going to be using camera traps then.. installing them in areas the otters use
most and hopefully we will see how this family is doing. And how many otters live in this den? Um, about 10 individuals.
All from the same family. Recently, last year they gave birth again.. ..to four cubs.
For otters, they will stay together for a long time. Like humans. – You’re happy Leona?
Nice and secure? -Yeah. Nice and secure. Ready to go now.
-Alright Otters are extremely private animals. Camera trapping provides a window into their natural behavior and family lives that.. ..would otherwise be difficult to obtain. This crucial information is then used to.. ..monitor the otters health and also the
health of the ecosystem. Although otters are really small compared to elephants, they do have a huge ecological roles.. .. in the ecosystem. They can monitor
the health population of the river ecosystem. Not only the river, but all the
water ecosystem. People should care them because the population is rapidly decreasing. So if people don’t care about them.. .. like they keep on cutting trees, polluting
the water, polluting all the environment.. ..our future generation will not see them
and the ecosystem will be imbalanced. – But Leona’s science doesn’t stop there. -Oh yeah, Bertie. Before we head out, I want to collect.. ..some fecal sample. -Feces?
Yep. – Uh, why? Now, this needs to be addressed. Labs all over the world are chock-a-block with
scientists favorite specimen – feces. Why?! Well actualy, feces can tell scientists
a great deal about their subject. From where they have been
to what they eat and much more. Some animals diets are.. ..more shocking than suspected. Back at the lab, we had a look at what
these otters had been eating. -So what is the otters normally eat? -So the otters normally eat fish and also other insects. But yeah, mainly fish. -What is that thing? Fish skins? -Doesn’t look like fish.. This is a monitor lizard skin. -Yeah, a baby monitor lizard I think. Do you know that otters eat monitor lizards? -I’ve read it somewhere before but I.. ..haven’t seen it with my own eyes. -Now you have a proof! – Yeah.
Amazing. Wow, without doubt – it’s a piece of
monitor lizard skin. After finding out the otters have a more diverse diet than
previously thought.. ..we couldn’t wait to check out the results from the camera traps.. to see what the otters have been up to. Could we make even more new
discoveries? – Leona, you’re a much better a knot tyer than I am. -Well I’ve been here for a very long time. -Hold this. Thank you very much.
So this is it! This could be our cute little otter sequence. – Yeah, exactly. Hope so. Back at the center, we opened the cards. -So here we are, Leona.
The two cards. Come on otters. -No, nothing. -It’s that a mouse?
Yeah. Small mouse. Bird.. – Oh, so cool.
Two otters! Sunbathing. Why its head full of sand? -That’s because they’ve played. I can see why you love them so much. Looking through the images, it’s clear to
see how important family units are to.. ..these otters. Parents groom and nurture
their young, whilst indulging in fair bit of playtime. Observing such behaviors
would be impossible without the camera traps. Now, Leona, I got that it’d be your last week here. – Yeah, sadly, yeah. How’d you feel about that? Pretty sad actually.
I get so close to the people here. We’re like family now so
leaving them.. ..it’s going to be hard for me. New adventures await you. And you’ll be back hopefully to spend more time.. with these adorable guys. I can’t believe how cute they are. Leona has gained some fascinating
insights into the secretive animals life.. ..and show just how similar their behavior
is to humans. She now plans to continue.. her work with a Borneo wide survey
before hopefully returning to DGFC.. ..to check in with her two families.