A male Asian small-clawed otter has arrived at Woodland Park Zoo in anticipation of the new Asian tropical forest exhibit complex, which he and a female otter will call home this spring.
As part of routine quarantine protocol, the otter will undergo an examination and weigh-in by zoo veterinarian staff before transitioning to the new exhibit. The press are invited to observe the exam at the zoo’s veterinary hospital.
Following the exam, the otter will remain in a temporary, off-view exhibit until phase one of the Asian tropical forest exhibit complex opens to the public in May.
The 7-year-old male, who will later be accompanied by a 3-year-old female, are the first of their kind to live at Woodland Park Zoo. The male arrived in early January from Zoo Atlanta, and the female will be arriving from Bronx Zoo before the end of the month.
Asian small-clawed otters are the smallest otter species in the world. And unlike the zoo’s river otters of the award-winning Northern Trail, small-clawed otters spend more time on land. Habitat loss presents otters the gravest threat. In their native habitats of southern and southeastern Asia, otters face deforestation, drainage of wetlands and growth of plantations that drastically reduce their suitable habitat. Once common, Asian small-clawed otters are locally extinct in Hong Kong, Singapore and India’s Sunderbans and East Calcutta.
Woodland Park Zoo’s Asian Tropical forest exhibit complex will use innovative, hands-on education techniques to spread awareness of these conservation issues and encourage visitors to help save the wild animals and habitats we all love.