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Meet (And Hear!) Santa Barbara Zoo's Four Otter Pups

(November 18, 2020) Santa Barbara, CA -- The Santa Barbara Zoo is excited to announce that Gail, the Zoo’s female Asian small-clawed otter, gave birth to four healthy pups last Friday. The animal care team did the first health check on the pups yesterday and hopes to confirm their gender next week at a follow-up wellness exam.


Gail, Peeta (dad), and Berbudi (older brother) all work together as a family to raise the pups, so they will remain off exhibit for one to two months while the pups mature and learn how to swim. Gail last gave birth in 2017. Gail and Peeta are generously sponsored by Peter & Pieter Crawford-van Meeuwen.

Gail was born in November 2013 at Greensboro Science Center, NC, and arrived at the Zoo in March 2017. Peeta was born in February 2008 at Fort Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, WA, and arrived at the Zoo in 2012. Berbudi was part of Gail and Peeta’s last litter, born at the Santa Barbara Zoo on October 7, 2017.

The otters here at the Zoo are part of the Species Survival Plan, a cooperative conservation program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) which aims to maintain genetic diversity within AZA populations, sustain these populations, and guard against extinction.

The public is invited to help welcome the new otter pups by becoming a Foster Feeder sponsor. New Foster Feeders at all levels will receive a personalized digital Foster Feeder certificate (includes honoree’s name and otterotter photo), and recognition on the Foster Feeder board at the Zoo. Various donation levels are available on the website with different, wild benefits! For more information and to become a Foster Feeder, click here:

The Zoo will share viewing information as soon as it becomes available, but in the meantime, the public is encouraged to tune in to the Zoo’s social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) for regular updates on the new otter pups.

About Asian small-clawed otters

Asian small-clawed otters are the smallest of all 13 otter species and are found in southern India, southern China, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. These otters live in small streams, rivers, marshes, rice paddies, seacoasts, and mangroves. They have webbed feet, and true to their name, their claws do not extend beyond their digital pads. Well adapted to life in the water, these social, intelligent animals spend a majority of their time on land. The IUCN Red List confirms that this species is “Vulnerable,” due to habitat loss and poaching.

About the Santa Barbara Zoo

The Santa Barbara Zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. for members and 9:30 a.m. for general admission until 5 p.m. (seasonal extended hours on select days); general admission is $19.95 for adults, $14.95 for children 2-12, and free for children under 2. Parking is $11. The Santa Barbara Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).  AZA zoos are dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great visitor experience, and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and is the public’s link to helping animals in their native habitats. Visit