Our dedicated keeper team is excited to share that two male and two female cubs have been born and have been aptly named; Tia, Bubble, Rishi and Witty! Our vet has conducted a health check at 7 weeks of age and has confirmed they are all growing well, developing as they should and receiving the best level of care from their parents. They will stay with mum and dad to learn how to be proper otters for at least the next two years!
Born to our resident otters Little John, and Robin just before we closed for the third lockdown, these four cubs represent a huge milestone for the conservation of a species that is growing increasingly more vulnerable to extinction.
Our curator of collections, Jason Palmer, is EAZA European Studbook keeper for Asian short-clawed otters, as well as being an IUCN global species advisor. As a result of his vital work, the birth of these cubs at Battersea symbolises the start of a reformed management strategy for this species within zoological facilities. EAZA are hoping now to be able to maintain Asian short-clawed otters within a European Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP) - managing them at the highest possible level. We are proud to be leading the way with managing this species alongside our sister centre The New Forest Wildlife Park.
We now have a reliable and functioning studbook to ensure we maintain a healthy ark of ASCO’s in captivity. Not only will this help zoos across Europe to best manage their otters, but we are now able to add other studbooks for the species including those in Japan, USA and Australia!
Across South and South-East Asia, the wild populations of this species are in dramatic decline due to habitat degradation and the illegal pet and wildlife trade. Little John, Robin and their cubs represent the start of a new, safe and future-proof population of Asian short-clawed otters within zoos that will directly contribute to the conservation of wild otters across a range of countries including Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia.
Life at the zoo continues every day, despite being temporarily closed. The whole team is looking forward to welcoming you back one day soon and sharing our passion for this amazing species with you all.