Freedom’s Touch: Otter, Kept in Tiny Wooden Box for Years, Feels Water’s Embrace for the First Time

When some local rescuers in Thailand discovered an otter living in a tiny wooden box, they were shocked. He’d been kept alone in the box for years, where he survived on things like noodles and meatballs — instead of a healthy diet of shellfish.

The otter, later named Thung Ngern, was transferred to a temporary holding facility with a small pool while he waited for WFFT to come and get him. Even in the tiny pool, he already seemed so much happier than he was while crammed in the tiny box. Once his new friends from WFFT arrived, they transferred him into their care and immediately got him checked out.

“Our veterinary team were surprised that he had survived having been living on such harmful foods,” Paul Healey, press officer at WFFT, told The Dodo.

Otters are incredibly social animals who live in family groups, so keeping Thung Ngern on his own for so long was particularly unfair. His rescuers are now working on rehabilitating him so that, eventually, he can join one of their otter groups and finally have a family.

“His rehabilitation is already going very well, as he is loving his new sanctuary home,” Healey said. “Likely for the first time in his life, he is enjoying fresh fish to eat and a pool of clean water to swim and float in.”

Within 24 hours of arriving at his new home, Thung Ngern was already full of energy, rolling in the sand and splashing in the water. He’s so grateful to everyone who helped rescue him, and they can’t wait until he gets to meet the other otters.

“Our team is so happy to see him adjusting so well to sanctuary life,” Healey said. “Once he’s ready, we hope to integrate Thung Ngern with some of our other otter groups — we can’t wait for him to meet his first friends and enjoy being in an otter family!”


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