An Otter pup whose life was saved by an emergency Caesarean section is out of the nest at Taronga Zoo.
When a female Oriental Small-clawed Otter named Pia went into labor on February 28, keepers noticed that she was having difficulty delivering her babies. They called on the veterinary staff, who performed an emergency Caesarean section on Pia. Unfortunately, all three of Pia’s cubs were unresponsive when they were delivered.
The staff tried to resuscitate the cubs, and amazingly, one survived. That pup, a male named Intan, which means ‘diamond’ in Indonesian, has spent the last 10 weeks in the nest box with Pia and her mate, Ketut. Intan has just begun exploring outdoors and tasting solid food alongside mom and dad.
“They’ve been perfect parents. They’re both extremely attentive and occasionally even battle over who gets to look after the pup,” said Keeper Ben Haynes. “Ketut is a first-time dad, but he grew up with younger siblings so he has experience collecting fish and caring for younger otters.”
The pup is the first successful Otter birth at Taronga in more than 15 years.
“He’s very curious, but still very much reliant on mum and dad for everything. They’ve started encouraging him into the water, swimming alongside him and teaching him to dive underwater,” said Ben.
The smallest of the world’s 13 Otter species, weighing less than 12 pounds as adults, Oriental Small-clawed Otters are found in the streams, rivers, marshes, and wetlands of southern India, southern China, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Classified as a Vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, populations continue to be threatened by habitat loss, water pollution and poaching for the fur trade.
See more photos of Intan below.