After a 10-year wait, keepers at Australia’s Taronga Western Plains Zoo are thrilled with the birth of two male Oriental Small-clawed Otter pups on January 24.
Photo Credit: Taronga Zoo
This is the first offspring for the mother, Emiko, and the father, Pocket. Both parents are displaying ideal nurturing behaviours. “Emiko and Pocket are being really attentive parents, we are really happy with their nurturing behaviors, as they are both first-time parents so it is a big learning curve for them,” said Senior Keeper Ian Anderson.
According to keepers, Pocket is very paws-on with parenting. He helped Emiko build the nest before the pups' birth and now helps provide food and care for the growing pups.
The zoo had been trying to successfully breed Oriental Small-clawed Otters for the past ten years. “We had tried a number of different pairings during this time but finally got the right match with Emiko and Pocket,” Anderson said.
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For now, the pups spend most of their time in the den with Emiko and Pocket. Keepers monitor the family via a closed-circuit camera. As the pups grow, Emiko and Pocket have started taking them into the exhibit occasionally for swimming lessons or to explore the exhibit.
One of the Otter pups has been named Kali, meaning river in Indonesian. Keepers are taking name suggestions for the other pup on their Facebook page.