Abilene Zoo

Otter Trio Debuts in Time for Mother’s Day

1_5 days old

A lively trio of North American River Otter pups recently made their debut at Oakland Zoo. A male and two females were born February 9, and they were introduced to the public prior to Mother’s Day weekend. According to keepers, their mom, Rose, has been doing a great job taking care of her new litter.

Zookeepers have also given names to the active pups. The boy has been named Si’ahl (“see-all”), and his sisters have been named Imnaha (“em-na-ha”) and Talulah (“ta-lou-la”).

The arrival of the pups brings the total number of North American River Otters, at Oakland Zoo, to six: their mom, dad Wyatt, and grandma, Ginger (Ginger is mother to Rose).

The pups are still nursing, but have begun eating solid foods consisting of fish and some meat.

Dad, Wyatt, is Oakland Zoo’s only adult male and was relocated to Oakland three years ago from the Abilene Zoo, in Texas, where the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) gave him a breeding recommendation.

“We are pleased to have our sixth healthy litter of Otter pups since 2011. This is Rose’s second litter, and we are happy that she is once again being a great mother to her pups. You can see Rose and her three pups daily at the Oakland Zoo, in the Children’s Zoo,” said Adam Fink, Zoological Manager, Oakland Zoo.

2_5 days old medical exam

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4_Two and a half months old_3Photo Credits: Oakland Zoo

Zookeepers have been tracking the baby Otters’ growth and health with bi-weekly checkups, referred to as "pupdates" to Zoo staff. Rose has only very recently been venturing into the exhibit with her pups. Swimming is not instinctual; therefore, pups do not go on exhibit until they are strong enough swimmers and a certain size.

Zoo guests are now able to watch the new pups in their exhibit daily. The River Otter exhibit is located in the Wayne and Gladys Valley Children's Zoo.

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Abilene Zoo Loves Lucy

Lucy face1
The Abilene Zoo, in Texas, has a new baby Ocelot! Born Sept. 9th, to proud Ocelot parents ‘Hotrod’ and ‘Ellie’, little ‘Lucy’ is now old enough to be out on exhibit with her mother.

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Denise feeds Lucy

Ellie and baby LucyPhoto Credits: Abilene Zoo

The father, Hotrod, is 15 years old, and mother, Ellie, is fourteen. Lucy is their third litter together. Ocelot litters tend to range from one to three offspring.

The baby’s care has been shared by the zoo keepers and the Ocelot mother, a new experience for Ellie and the zoo. In the past, Ellie’s babies have been exclusively hand-raised, to help ensure their survival. Lucy is thriving from the extra care and attention.

“We’re lucky that the mother is allowing us to assist in rearing this baby,” said Abilene Zoo Mammal Keeper, Denise Ibarra. “It’s been successful with large cats, but this is rare in the zoo world for smaller cats to share hand-raising with parental care.”

The Abilene Zoo’s Ocelot breeding program is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP), which strives to educate the public about these threatened animals while helping to repopulate the species.

Ocelots, also called dwarf leopards, are small wild cats that live in Central America, South America, Mexico, and far South Texas. They were once killed for their beautiful spotted fur, but the species has rebounded to between 800,000 and 1.5 million worldwide. They are, however, endangered in Texas. Only about an estimated 80 to 120 wild ocelots are found in two isolated populations in southeast Texas.

More great photos below the fold!

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