每日跟讀#605: These Otters Are Popular Pets in Asia. That May Be Their Undoing

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每日跟讀#605: These Otters Are Popular Pets in Asia. That May Be Their Undoing   We smelled them before we saw them. Amid an overwhelming reek of urine and scat, we descended a tight staircase into a cramped basement, where tattered ottomans faced a small wire cage.   我們看到牠們之前已先聞到牠們的味道。在一股屎尿惡臭中,我們走下一個狹窄樓梯,進入(東京)一處擁擠的地下室,而在那裡,破破爛爛的凳子前面有個小鐵籠。   Within the cage stood the star attractions and source of the odor: four Asian small-clawed otters. Spotting us, the animals burst into chirps, whimpers, shrieks and screams.   籠內站著的,是具明星級吸引力的氣味來源,四隻亞洲小爪水獺,這些動物注意到我們後突然發出嗲嗲、悲嗥與尖銳的叫聲。   After passing around a laminated sheet with warnings printed in Japanese, Mandarin and English (“Otters sometimes become violent”), a handler opened the cage. The animals bolted out and flew about the room, racing over laps and gobbling down kibbles.   發給我們一張印有日文、中文與英文警語「水獺有時會展現兇性」的覆膜紙板後,一名馴育員打開了籠子。動物們跑了出來在房間裡飛快地亂跑了好幾圈,並狼吞虎嚥地吃著飼料。   Their tubular brown bodies felt like slick, furry throw pillows, and their animated, whisker-framed faces were like those of puppies. Selfies proved difficult: Throughout our 30-minute session, the otters never stopped moving.   牠們褐色的長條身體讓人覺得像是光滑又毛茸茸的抱枕,牠們活潑、長著鬍鬚的臉像小狗,而這也證明了要跟牠們自拍的難度,在我們停留的30分鐘裡,水獺一直動個不停。   Otters are smelly, loud and extremely active; they have sharp teeth and jaws strong enough to crack open shellfish. But in Japan, where more than a dozen animal cafes now feature otters, they have become sought-after exotic pets, displacing owls, slow lorises, sugar gliders and star tortoises.   水獺身上有臭味,叫聲響亮且非常活潑;牠們有鋒利的牙齒跟有力的下顎,足以咬碎貝類,而在日本,現在有十幾家以水獺為特色的動物咖啡店,牠們已成為人們爭相飼養的異國寵物,取代了貓頭鷹、懶猴、蜜袋鼯跟星紋龜。   Many cafes and pet shops sell otters to anyone interested in taking one home. “We’re seeing a rapid increase in demand as the popularity of keeping otters as pets keeps growing,” a cafe attendant told our group. “But the supply isn’t catching up.”   許多咖啡館和寵物店向任何有意帶回家的人販售水獺,一位咖啡廳服務生告訴我們小組說:「隨著養水獺當寵物日益普遍,我們看到需求快速成長,但供應速度並沒有趕上。」   Pet otters aren’t just big in Japan. They also are increasingly common in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. The internet has largely driven the “logarithmic increase” in their popularity and trade as pets, said Nicole Duplaix, a conservation biologist at Oregon State University and co-chairwoman of the otter committee of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.   養水獺當寵物不只在日本流行,印尼、泰國、越南與馬來西亞也日益普及。美國奧勒岡州立大學保育生物學家、國際自然保育聯盟水獺委員會共同主席妮可.都卜雷表示,牠們被當成寵物的受歡迎程度及買賣數量,在很大程度上因網路的推波助瀾而呈「對數增加」。   Where are all of these pets coming from? Otters are difficult to breed in captivity without proper techniques. Many conservationists believe that the majority of animals sold as pets are captured in the wild.   都卜雷說:「賣家在網路上登廣告,加上寵物主人張貼自家小水獺無數的可愛照片,這散播了水獺是很棒寵物的訊息,但實際上牠們並不是。」這些寵物都是從哪裡來的呢?沒有適當的技術,水獺很難在人工飼養中繁殖。許多保育人士認為,大部分被當作寵物出售的動物都是在野外捕獲的。   Threatened smooth-coated otters and endangered hairy-nosed otters, both found in Southeast Asia, are sometimes caught up in the pet trade. But Asian small-clawed otters, a “terminally cute” threatened species, tend to be the primary targets for poachers, Duplaix said   生存受到威脅的江獺跟瀕臨滅絕的毛鼻水獺,兩者都生存於東南亞,有時也會捲入寵物貿易,但都卜雷表示,亞洲小爪水獺這個「萌到爆」的瀕危物種,往往是盜獵者的首要目標。   更多跟讀練習單元,就在   用email訂閱就可以收到所有15mins.Today最新節目通知。

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