The Binghamton Zoo has announced the birth of three North American River Otter pups, born on March 1!
The pups were born to Elaine and Leroy, the resident otters who have been at the zoo since 2007. The pups weigh in at about .5 pounds each (180-232 g). It is hard to determine their sexes due to their size and age.
A naming contest for the three otter pups will take place until April 3. Submit your ideas here!
Female otters give birth, nurse, and care for their young in a den prepared by the mother. They are born with fur, but are otherwise helpless. Elaine has been a wonderful mother and has been taking care of them since birth. When they get older, they will get a swimming lesson from mom.
The last time the pair had a pup was in 2010, when they had their firstborn, Emmett, who is now at the Downtown Aquarium in Denver, Colorado.
The three otter pups will stay at the Binghamton Zoo through the summer and into the fall, when at the decision of the North American Species Survival Plan management committee, they will go to other zoos to become the foundation of new breeding pairs.
Learn more after the fold.
“It is important that we continue to breed and maintain this species in our zoos. In the wild they are considered an indicator species as to the health of the waterway in which they are found. One of the best ways to teach and inspire future generations about our wild heritage is to allow them to experience them in zoos,” said Dave Orndorff, animal curator at the Binghamton Zoo.
Otters are still considered vulnerable or imperiled throughout much of their range in the mid-western United States and the Appalachian Mountains. Otters do have a Species Survival Plan through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that helps to maintain a genetically healthy population.
North American River Otters are found throughout Canada and the United States, except for areas of Southern California, New Mexico and Texas, and the Mohave Desert of Nevada and Colorado. Their life expectancy in the wild is 10-15 years while in captivity they can live anywhere between 15-20 years.