Two Asian small-clawed otters were spotted along the coast of Turtle Islands in the province of Tawi-Tawi, the first time such species was seen in the area, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Region 9 said Thursday.
The otters were documented in the vicinity of Taganak Island, which is part of the Turtle Islands Wildlife Sanctuary (TIWS).
Based on the report received by DENR-IX from TIWS Protected Area Superintendent Minda Bairula, the otters, locally known as "Hanjing Laut," were spotted from May 15 to May 22.
Bairula believes the sightings were the first time the otters were seen in the marine protected area.
The DENR IX said they would request technical assistance from the Biodiversity Management Bureau to help them better understand the characteristics of the otter species and to better protect them.
- report from RJ Rosalado, ABS-CBN News