For only the second time in history, Giant River Otters have been successfully bred at a North American zoo. Born January 31st at Zoo Miami
, there are two pups, one male and one female, each weighing between 2 and 3lbs. While they might be small now, these pups will grow up to be truly giant at a length of 6ft and a weight of around 75 lbs.! This landmark event represents the culmination of years of collaboration between Zoo Miami, the Philadelphia Zoo, the Cali Zoo in Columbia and the Brazilian Institute of the Environment.
Photo credits: Ron Magill / Zoo Miami
Since their birth, the parents and pups have been left alone in seclusion because of how sensitive they can be to external activity. After giving the parents and pups several weeks alone to bond and establish themselves, they were briefly separated yesterday (for the first time) so that the Zoo’s veterinarian could perform a neonatal exam on the newborns. Neither of the pups has opened their eyes yet but all indications from the quick exam are that they appear to be healthy and strong.
A first-time mother, Kara was born at the Philadelphia Zoo in March of 2005 and arrived at Zoo Miami on June 4th, 2008. She is on loan from the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Natural Resources in Brazil. The first time father’s name is “Witoto,” and he is on loan from the Cali Zoo in Cali, Colombia where he was born in April of 2004. This is truly an international collaboration in an effort to preserve this extremely rare animal! The pair has been a visitor favorite at “Amazon and Beyond” since the exhibit’s opening in 2008.
More photos below the fold!