US Zoo Welcomes River Otter Pup

The Brookfield Zoo has announced the name of its new river otter pup that was born at the zoo two months ago, during a live chat on the social media platform TikTok.

More than 18,000 people cast their vote for their favourite name out of several listed in a poll that the zoo put up two weeks ago.

The voters determined the winning name – Pascal, which is the name of an otter character in a popular video game.

Pascal was born at the Brookfield Zoo in the village of Brookfield in Cook County, in the US state of Illinois on 20th January.

Pascal, the 2-month-old river otter pup at Brookfield Zoo, in the city of Illinois, United States. (Lynette Kleisner, CZS,Brookfield Zoo/Clipzilla)

Since making his first public appearance to the public on 3rd March, he has been growing rapidly, but still has a long way until he is fully grown.

The pup was also recently introduced to water for the first time and the caregivers at the zoo say he is making great progress in each swimming session that he has on a daily basis.

They describe Pascal as energetic, playful and eager to learn new things all the time, just like most otters.

Pascal is being hand-reared since his birth because unfortunately, his mother was not able to provide him with proper nourishment, but staff said they are planning to reunite him with his mom Charlotte and dad Benny at the zoo’s Swamp habitat in the near future, once he is fully weaned.

Regarding the conservation status of the North American River Otters, the Brookfield Zoo stated in an official press release: “The Illinois population of North American river otters—fewer than 100 individuals in the late 1980s—was once threatened due to over harvesting and habitat loss.

“However, a successful recovery program initiated in the early 1990s by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources helped increase the number of otters in the state. The program included relocating nearly 350 otters from Louisiana to central and south-eastern Illinois. The state also engaged in conserving wetlands and wooded areas along streams and rivers, which is otter habitat.

“Today, the species is common throughout Illinois thanks to these effort as well as expanding otter populations in neighboring states.”

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