Aquarium Partners with the Community to Name Otter Pups

Fort Fisher News Room

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Aquarium Partners with the Community to Name Otter Pups

Fort Fisher, North Carolina It's time to name the pups that make up the fantastic female trio at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher (NCAFF)—the newest members of the Asian small-clawed otter family. The otter pups born May 21 now have their own unique personalities and the Aquarium team is ready to give them their own unique names. With staff input, the otter team has narrowed down the choices to four trios of names.

“The team at the Aquarium researched and shared meaningful naming ideas based on the native habitat of Asian small-clawed otters and the unique circumstances of when they were born. We’re sharing the top four trios of names and asking our community to vote for their favorite,” said Shannon Anderson, otter keeper, NCAFF.

The pups were born during a full moon, King Tide and a storm. 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 many threats, including residential and commercial development, deforestation, the illegal pet trade, pollution, climate change, and poaching. Find out more at IUCN Red List

The naming trios include:

  • Stella, Mae and Selene (moon, Thailand moon goddess and goddess of the moon)
  • Padma, Bulan and Melati (Indonesia’s three national flowers—the Giant Padma, Anggrek bulan, the moth orchid; and Melati putih, the Arabian Jasmine)
  • Tala, Reyna and Ula (bright star, queen and small one)
  • Java, Bali and Nusa (Volcanic islands in Indonesia)

Voting is open online at Name the Otter Pups, by QR code on the screens at the Aquarium and at the Otters on the Edge habitat with advanced tickets required to visit the NCAFF. Reserve tickets online at NCAFF Tickets.

“Our hope is that by discovering more about Asian small-clawed otters, our community will both celebrate how special they are and take individual actions to prioritize their conservation,” said Anderson.

Individual Actions to Save this Species

While one person can’t do everything, everyone can do something—individual actions in local communities can protect local species and they can create a ripple effect that can lead to protections for species across the globe. Here are some great conservation action items: 

  • Buy shade-grown coffee—it’s produced on farms with a shade cover that provides important habitat for different species, preventing deforestation and destruction of homes for animals like Asian small-clawed otters.
  • Don’t ever support illegally traded wild animals as pets.
  • Think before buying furs.
  • Support Aquarium conservation priorities by visiting North Carolina Aquarium Society.

When Will Pups be in the Public Habitat?

The pups have reached some important milestones and preparations are underway to introduce them to their public habitat. Stay up with the pups by following their journey on Facebook and Instagram using #OtterPupsNCAFF.


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