From: 101 East

Japan’s Pet Otter Obsession

How are wild otters from Southeast Asia ending up in Japanese pet cafes? 101 East investigates.

Pet cafes are popular tourist destinations in Japan where visitors pay to play with otters and other exotic creatures.

Cute and charming, otters have also become popular household pets in Japan.

Cramped inside small city apartments with not much water to splash around in, they’re often living a life of misery in captivity.

Animal rights campaigners are concerned that many otters are being caught in the wild, bred irresponsibly, sold online and smuggled illegally by criminal syndicates from Southeast Asia.

101 East investigates Indonesia’s live wildlife markets and the pet cafes of Tokyo to expose the dark otter trade.