By Oregon Zoo Staff
Tilly, a North American river otter, is raising two tiny pups at the Oregon Zoo. The new arrivals — one male and one female — were born Feb. 26, and it will likely be another month or so before visitors can see them in their Cascade Stream and Pond habitat.
“Young river otters are extremely dependent on their moms, and Tilly has been very nurturing,” said Julie Christie, senior keeper for the zoo’s North America area. “She did a great job raising her first two pups, Mo and Ziggy, both born in 2013. And she was a terrific adoptive mom to Little Pudding, the orphan pup who was rescued from a roadside in 2015. We expect she’ll do well with her new babies as well.”
Keepers have yet to decide on names for the new pups, though it is likely they will be named after local rivers or waterways. Tilly, named after the Tillamook River, was rescued after being found orphaned and injured near Johnson Creek in 2009.
“This will be the first time Tilly has raised more than one pup at a time,” said curator Amy Cutting, who oversees the zoo’s North America and marine life areas. “It’s exciting that they’ll be growing up together and have the opportunity to play and wrestle with each other.”
Once threatened by fur trappers, river otters are now considered rare throughout most of the U.S. due to habitat destruction and water pollution. They are relatively abundant in healthy river systems of the Pacific Northwest though.
Metro, the regional government that manages the zoo, has preserved and restored more than 90 miles of river and stream banks through its voter-supported natural area programs. By protecting water quality and habitat, these programs aim to provide the healthy ecosystems needed for otters and other wildlife to thrive.
For more information, visit the Oregon Zoo: www.oregonzoo.org/Co
Category: Community Stories