Otter

Take a Peek at Bronx Zoo's Otter Pup

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An Asian Small-clawed Otter pup made its public debut at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo in late April.

Born this spring, the pup is already dipping its toes in the family’s watery exhibit.

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Julie Larsen Maher_5826_Asian Small-clawed Otter_JUN_BZ_04 06 16_hrPhoto Credit:  Julie Larsen Maher/WCS
Like all Otters, the species is well adapted for a semi-aquatic life. Their elongated bodies and webbed feet make it easy for them to propel through the water. They have dexterous paws that aid in finding and consuming food, and their fur is extremely dense and waterproof for temperature regulation.

Asian Small-clawed Otters have a vast but shrinking Southeast Asian range that spans from India to the Philippines, Taiwan, and parts of southern China. The species is classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and is threatened by habitat loss and exploitation.

 


Pueblo Zoo Has Their Hands Full of Cuteness

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The Pueblo Zoo is excited to share news of the birth of two North American River Otters. The pups were born to mom Freyja on March 8.

This is the second litter for Freyja, and the newest arrivals will stay with their mom, in the nest box, for at least eight weeks.

Freyja will have her hands full for the next few months. The pups will need to master their swimming skills before they can be visible to the public in the Zoo’s Otter Exhibit.

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The North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) is native to much of Canada and the United States (except for portions of the Southwest), and in Mexico-- in the Rio Grande and Colorado River delta areas.

They can thrive in any water habitat---as long as the habitat provides adequate food: ponds, marshes, lakes, rivers, estuaries and marshes (cold, warm or even high elevation).

They have thick, protective fur to help them keep warm while swimming in cold waters. They have short legs, webbed feet for faster swimming, and a long, narrow body and flattened head for streamlined movement in the water. A long, strong tail helps propels them through the water.

The River Otter can stay underwater for as much as eight minutes. They have long whiskers, which they use to detect prey in dark or cloudy water and clawed feet for grasping onto slippery prey. They are very flexible and can make sharp, sudden turns that help them catch fish. Their fur is dark brown over much of the body, and lighter brown on the belly and face. On land they can run at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour.

Their diet consists of a variety of aquatic wildlife: fish, crayfish, crabs, frogs, birds’ eggs, birds and other reptiles such as turtles. They have also been known to eat aquatic plants and to prey on other small mammals, such as muskrats or rabbits. They are known to have a very high metabolism and need to eat frequently.

In the wild, River Otters breed in late winter or early spring and generally give birth to one to three pups. The young are blind and helpless when born and first learn to swim after about two months. River Otters generally live alone or in small social groups.

The North American River Otter is currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. However, habitat degradation and pollution are major threats to their conservation. They are said to be highly sensitive to pollution, and the species is often used as a bio indicator because of its position at the top of the food chain in aquatic ecosystems.


Wild Sea Otter Gives Birth at Monterey Bay Aquarium

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A wild Southern Sea Otter mom, seeking shelter from stormy seas, gave birth to her pup in the ‘Great Tide Pool’ at Monterey Bay Aquarium on the afternoon of March 5. Guests and Aquarium staff were fortunate to witness the amazing birth of the wild pup.

Sea Otters can give birth in water or on land. The otter mom starts grooming her pup right away to help it stay warm and buoyant. Besides keeping the pup afloat, grooming also helps get the blood flowing and other internal systems revved up for a career of chomping on invertebrates and keeping near shore ecosystems, like the kelp forests in Monterey Bay, and the eel grass at Elkhorn Slough, healthy.

Monterey Bay’s Sea Otter researchers have been watching wild otters for years and have never seen a birth as close-up like this.

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4_WildSeaOtterPupAtMontereyBayPhoto Credits: Monterey Bay Aquarium

 

 

 

After a three-day stay, the wild Sea Otter mom and her fluffy pup headed out into Monterey Bay. There are busy days ahead as this otter mom will teach her pup how to dive, collect food and other skills needed for life in the wild.

By the time a pup is two months old, it’ll have shed most of its fluffy pup coat and be doing lots of exploring and diving. Soon it will be playing its role as a keystone species, keeping kelp-grazing sea urchins in check.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Sea Otter Program has been studying the threatened Southern Sea Otter since 1984 with the aim of understanding threats to the population and promoting its recovery. They also rescue, treat and release injured otters; raise and release stranded pups through a surrogate program; and seek homes for Sea Otters that can't return to the wild.

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Taipei Zoo's Pups Learn the 'Ways of the Otter'

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Asian Small-clawed Otter quintuplets were born at Taipei Zoo on November 16, 2015. The lively siblings have been learning the ‘ways of the otter’ from their attentive mom, Nina.

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4_12744631_1116262118418600_822246060100748544_nPhoto Credits: Taipei Zoo

 

 

The Asian Small-clawed Otter (Amblonyx cinerea), also known as the Oriental Small-clawed Otter, is the smallest otter species in the world. Weighing less than 5.4 kg (11.9 lbs.), the species lives in mangrove swamps and freshwater wetlands of Bangladesh, Burma, India, southern China, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The otter’s paws are its distinctive feature. The claws don’t extend beyond the fleshy end pads of its partially webbed fingers and toes, giving it a high degree of manual dexterity for feeding on mollusks, crabs and other aquatic animals.

Asian Small-clawed Otters form monogamous pairs for life. The mates can have two litters of one to six young per year, and their gestation period is about 60 days. Newborn pups are immobile, and their eyes are closed. The pups remain in their birthing dens, nursing and sleeping, for the first few weeks. They open their eyes after 40 days and are fully weaned at 14 weeks. Within 40 days, the young start to eat solid food and can swim at three months. Young otters will stay with their mother until the next litter is born. Males assist females in nest building and food procurement.

The Asian Small-clawed Otter is classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. Threats to their existence in the wild are: habitat loss, pollution, and hunting.

More great pics below the fold!

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Rescued Sea Otter ‘Pup 719’ Finds New Home

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A recognized leader in animal care and conservation, Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium recently announced that it has welcomed a 10-week-old orphaned Southern Sea Otter pup (Enhydra lutris nereis) to the aquarium as part of a collaborative partnership with Monterey Bay Aquarium – a leader in ocean conservation, and science and conservation of the threatened marine mammal species.

Now weighing about 11 pounds, the female pup arrived at Shedd on January 27 from Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California, where she was estimated to be 4 weeks old. The pup is receiving care behind the scenes in Shedd’s Regenstein Sea Otter Nursery from a team of dedicated animal trainers and veterinarians. She is the third pup from the endangered Southern Sea Otter population to reside at Shedd. Known as “Pup 719” (which refers to the number of otters taken into Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Otter Program since its inception in 1984) she is currently achieving critical milestones in her growth.

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TR16-019Photo Credits: Images 1-11 (Monterey Bay Aquarium/ Tyson Rininger) ; Images 12,13 (Shedd Aquarium/ Brenna Hernandez)

 

 

Pup 719’s stranding is a vivid example of how our changing environment is impacting animal habitats on the west coast. Unusually high ocean temperatures associated with El Niño caused heavy storms in January, which may have been a factor in separating Pup 719 from her mother. Additionally, elevated ocean temperatures can be associated with a reduction in kelp cover, shrinking the habitat available to Sea Otters. The latest National Weather Service status for the current El Niño system ranks it among the three strongest episodes dating back to 1950. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration noted 2015 as the Earth’s warmest year on record.

“We might be facing record numbers of Southern Sea Otter strandings that may be associated with storms caused by El Niño, our role as stewards and caretakers for these animals is as critical as ever,” said Karl Mayer, animal care coordinator for the Monterey Bay Aquarium Sea Otter Program.

“There are limited options for stranded otters: reuniting with mother in the wild, rearing for release by a surrogate Sea Otter mother like the one of a kind program at Monterey Bay Aquarium or being placed in an AZA accredited zoo or aquarium. If those options are not available, pups may unfortunately have to be humanely euthanized,” said Tim Binder, executive vice president of animal care for Shedd. “Organizations like Monterey Bay Aquarium are doing critical work to try and reunite these species and when there are no other options – Shedd stands at the ready to assist in urgent animal care needs like providing a permanent home for Pup 719.”

As she acclimates to her new surroundings at Shedd, Pup 719 continues to achieve many important milestones which include eating solid foods such as shrimp and clams, foraging for food, grooming on her own and interacting with Shedd’s animal care team.

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A Little Somethin’ Sweet at Monterey Bay Aquarium

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A wild baby Sea Otter was born December 20th in the Great Tide Pool at Monterey Bay Aquarium!

For several days prior to the birth, a wild female Sea Otter had been using the protected basin of the Aquarium’s Great Tide Pool to rest from the winter storms. The night before her pup was born, just as the Aquarium closed, she was spotted slinking into the pool.

According to Monterey Bay staff, it’s rare for a healthy Sea Otter to visit the pool so frequently. The mystery was solved around 8:30 a.m. on December 20th when Aquarium staff witnessed a new pup resting on the proud new mom’s belly!

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4_10869402_10153755191277482_988889495385402685_oPhoto Credits: Monterey Bay Aquarium

 

Since the event, Aquarium staff, volunteers, and visitors have made their way to watch a conservation success story take place.

Monterey Bay Aquarium will keep the public updated on this new otter family—even though mom may decide to head back out to the wild at any time. Currently though, she’s still grooming her pup and enjoying the comfort of the Great Tide Pool. Check out Monterey Bay Aquarium’s web page for further information: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/

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Otter Pup Ready for Fun at the Bronx Zoo

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Monty, the Asian Small-clawed Otter pup, has been eagerly exploring his exhibit at the Bronx Zoo. In an effort to keep his curiosity from getting the better of him, mom and dad are never far behind.

It has been several years since a new otter pup has inhabited the Bronx Zoo’s Jungle World. Eleven-year-old mom, Jasmine, and nine-year-old dad, Gyan, are first time parents. So far, they have been doing an outstanding job with little Monty. Keepers have been giving them plenty of privacy and time to bond, only interrupting for quick weigh-ins to check the pup’s growth.

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3_Julie Larsen Maher _3630_Asian Small-clawed Otters and Pup_JUN_BZ_09 04 ...Photo Credits: Julie Larsen Maher / WCSAside from his new desire to explore, Monty has started to eat solids and is getting better at swimming.  His parents take their jobs seriously. Jasmine continues to keep his nest in order, and dad has started bringing him bits of fish.

The Asian Small-clawed Otter (Amblonyx cinerea), also known as the Oriental Small-clawed Otter, is the smallest otter species in the world. Weighing less than 5.4 kg (11.9 lbs.), the species lives in mangrove swamps and freshwater wetlands of Bangladesh, Burma, India, southern China, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The otter’s paws are its distinctive feature. The claws don’t extend beyond the fleshy end pads of its partially webbed fingers and toes, giving it a high degree of manual dexterity for feeding on mollusks, crabs and other aquatic animals.

Asian Small-clawed Otters form monogamous pairs for life. The mates can have two litters of one to six young per year, and their gestation period is about 60 days. Newborn pups are immobile, and their eyes are closed.  The pups remain in their birthing dens, nursing and sleeping, for the first few weeks. They open their eyes after 40 days and are fully weaned at 14 weeks. Within 40 days, the young start to eat solid food and can swim at three months. Young otters will stay with their mother until the next litter is born. Males assist females in nest building and food procurement.

The Asian Small-clawed Otter is classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. Threats to their existence in the wild are: habitat loss, pollution, and hunting. 


Meet Little Pudding, Oregon's Orphaned Otter Pup

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A boisterous, squeaky River Otter pup — orphaned last month near Oakridge, Oregon, and now living at the Oregon Zoo — has a name. The 4-month-old will be called Little Pudding, named for a tributary of Oregon’s Pudding River.

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Photo Credit:  Oregon Zoo

"A lot of the animals here get their names from nations or cultures associated with the species' native habitats," said Julie Christie, senior keeper for the zoo's North America area. "For the river otters, we like to choose names based on local waterways."

After narrowing their list of potential names to three choices — J.R. Papenfus and Hobson were the other two — keepers last week invited the public to vote for their favorite via the zoo website. More than 5,500 Otter fans weighed in, with Little Pudding earning around 36 percent of the votes.

The pup was alone, hungry and dehydrated when he was spotted wandering alongside a local highway. He was taken to the Chintimini Wildlife Center in Corvallis. Since the young Otter would not be able to survive in the wild without its mother, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife contacted the zoo to see if space was available once the pup's health stabilized.

Once threatened by fur trappers, North American River Otters are now relatively abundant in healthy river systems of the Pacific Northwest and the lakes and tributaries that feed them. Good populations exist in suitable habitat in northeast and southeast Oregon, but they are scarce in heavily settled areas, especially if waterways are compromised. Because of habitat destruction and water pollution, River Otters are considered rare outside the region.


‘Otterly’ Adorable Siblings Ready for Adventure

1_11402543_10152936392331984_4305523161385450555_oTwo Asian Small-Clawed Otter pups, born in early March at the Auckland Zoo, are more than eager to be exploring outside their den. ‘Kalaya’, and her brother, ‘Chet’ have been keeping staff and the rest of their otter family on their toes. The adventurous siblings have also jumped right in to swimming lessons. 

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4_11165059_10152904754346984_4238219435269671420_oPhoto Credits: Brian Cairns (Image 1); Auckland Zoo (Images 2,3,4) 

The Asian Small-Clawed Otter is the smallest otter species in the world. They are native to mangrove swamps and freshwater wetlands of Bangladesh, Burma, India, southern China, Taiwan, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Their maximum body length, including a twelve-inch tail, is about 28 to 39 inches (70 – 100 cm). Their weight can range from 2.2 to 11.9 lbs (1 – 5.4 kg). The paws are one of its distinctive features, the claws not extending beyond the fleshy end pads of its partially webbed fingers and toes. This feature give the otter a high degree of manual dexterity so it can use its paws to feed on mollusks, crabs and other small aquatic animals.

Asian Small-Clawed Otters are monogamous. The mates can have two litters of one to six pups per year, and the gestation period is about 60 days. The newborn pups are born toothless, practically immobile and eyes closed. The young will remain in their birthing den for the first few weeks, nursing and staying close to mom. They open their eyes after 40 days and are fully weaned at about 14 weeks. They begin swimming at about three months. Young otters will stay with the mother until the next litter is born. The father assists the mother in nest building and food procurement. Otters have a life span, in the wild, of around 11 to 16 years.

Asian Small-Clawed Otters are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. Their main threats are habitat destruction, hunting and pollution. Unfortunately, their population trend is decreasing, despite being a protected species. 


Rosamond Gifford Zoo ‘Feeling Cheesy’ about Otter Duo

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The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is home to two new North American River Otters. The adorable male pups were born March 8th to six-year-old mom, ‘Brie’, and nine-year-old dad, ‘Johann’, and the cheese-tastic newborns have been named ‘Monterey’ and ‘Jack’. 

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RGZotters_5_JaimeAlvarezPhoto Credits: Jaime Alvarez (Images:1,2,4,5,6,7,8); Maria Simmons (Images:3,9)

The pups weighed about four ounces at birth and were born blind. Newborn otters don’t open their eyes till about four to five weeks of age, and they require significant care by their mother in order to survive. Due to this fact, and Brie’s previously unsuccessful attempts at rearing offspring, zoo staff installed cameras in the otter’s nest box. This has allowed keepers to monitor her pregnancy, and due to their observations, staff made the decision to pull her pups for hand-rearing.

“It is always exciting to have new babies at our zoo. Our animal staff has had remarkable success over the years in hand-rearing animals. I wish them continued success with these new otter pups and commend them for their hard work,” said County Executive Joanne M. Mahoney.

“We are very pleased to welcome Monterey and Jack and look forward to their growth and development over the next few months,” says Zoo Director Ted Fox. “Their father, Johann, is extremely energetic and a guest favorite. The eventual introduction of the pups to the otter exhibit will prove to be a very exciting time for our guests and staff.”

Monterey and Jack will be introduced to the otter exhibit at a later date. For now, the zoo intends for guests to observe feedings. While the pups are being raised behind the scenes, parents Brie and Johann can still be seen daily in the otter habitat, located in the social animal area of the zoo. 

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