Three otter pups born at the Fort Fisher Aquarium

FORT FISHER, N.C. (WECT) - Three female, Asian small-clawed otter pups were born Saturday, May 21, at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher (NCAFF).

Aquarists Shannon Anderson and Vickie Burgfeld monitored the otter parents, three-year-old Leia and eight-year-old Quincy, in the day ahead of the birth to ensure a successful delivery.

“Because pregnancies in this otter species can be difficult to detect and stillbirths are not uncommon, we were thrilled when we began seeing Leia and Quincy gingerly moving the newborn pups from one den to another and were able to count a total of three,” said Anderson.

Once the otter pups are eating solid foods and have become proficient swimmers, aquarium guests will have the opportunity to visit the pups in their habitat, Otters on the Edge.

“We know our community is as excited as we are to see these cute little pups in person; however, to ensure they remain safe and healthy, the family will be staying behind the scenes until the pups are more developed and mobile, and Leia and Quincy are ready to venture beyond the nest,” said Dr. Emily Christiansen, chief veterinarian, North Carolina Aquariums.

According to the news release, Asian small-clawed otters are a threatened species and the population is declining.

Asian small-clawed otters are native to Indonesia, southern China, southern India, Southeast Asia, and the Philippines. They are the smallest of the otter species and listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. Population numbers are declining because of several threats, including residential and commercial development, deforestation, the illegal pet trade, pollution, climate change, and poaching.

Click here to learn more about NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher programs.

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