Otters on the EdgE

Meet Our Growing Family!

For the second time in less than a year, North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher (NCAFF) staff are celebrating the arrival of a trio of Asian small-clawed otter pups, born Tuesday, Jan. 31. The pups are growing and bonding with parents, Leia and Quincy, and siblings Stella, Mae, and Selene, behind the scenes at the NCAFF Otters on the Edge habitat. 

Species Survival

Leia’s second delivery of triplets represents continued success in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan®(SSP) Program. The 4-year-old is among 13 breeding female otters in the AZA SSP Program in the United States. Asian small-clawed otters are a vulnerable species in their native habitats of Indonesia, southern China, southern India, Southeast Asia, and the Philippines.

Asta & Ray

Otter fans continue to delight in our mother-son duo, Asta and Ray. Asta is 14 years old and Ray is 4. They are in the habitat daily from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. They go behind-the-scenes for dinner. Please note, there may be additional unscheduled times when the animals are off the habitat.

cape fear shoals 

With a 235,000-gallon aquarium to explore, sharks, a sea turtle, stingrays and a moray eel among several other species, glide through the Cape Fear Shoals habitat at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher. The habitat offers a viewing bubble where visitors can experience a unique perspective on the sea life that call it home. Sand tiger sharks are the big attraction with Shelldon, the green sea turtle, never afraid to steal the limelight. 


Sand tiger sharks are a vulnerable species globally and critically endangered in areas of the western Mediterranean, Europe, and eastern Australian coast because of commercial fishing. Green Sea Turtles, like Shelldon in Cape Fear Shoals, are a threatened species in the Atlantic Ocean because of bycatch in fishing gear, climate change, direct harvest of turtles and eggs, disease, loss and degradation of nesting and foraging habitat, ocean pollution/marine debris and vessel strikes. These ambassadors are a powerful reminder of the importance of taking individual action to protect aquatic environments. 

Coquina outcrop

Touch Experiences

Yellow stingrays, anemones, a sea star, and pencil urchins are among the natural wonders that inhabit the Coquina Outcrop habitat with touch experiences for visitors. 

Conservation & Animal Welfare

Popular to visitors, the Coquina Outcrop has been reimagined to amplify the Aquarium conservation message and to underscore our focus on animal welfare. 


Maverick has been in the care of the Aquarium since 2014, when he was found in Wisconsin suffering a broken wing and unable to fly. He was relocated to the Aquarium serving as a symbol of our nation and as a conservation messenger about habitat loss, wildlife rehabilitation and endangered species.



Luna Stands Out & Gantu is her Trusty Companion

Luna is an albino American alligator, whose white color means she stands out in the wild and would likely not survive. For almost 20 years, she has been a favorite of visitors of all ages. She and Gantu, her habitat companion, can be found basking under the heat lamp in the Aquarium Conservatory, gobbling down enrichment snacks or floating in their pool. 




Pip & Scout

Loggerhead Sea turtle Conservation 

Pip and Scout, two loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings, are splashing their way into people’s hearts at the Aquarium. For decades, the Aquarium team has cared for hatchlings that did not make the initial trek to the ocean. Pip and Scout are survivors found in nest excavations at Carolina Beach and Fort Fisher—their fun names began with ideas from staff, then votes from students throughout North Carolina who picked their favorites. 

Sharing these tiny ambassadors with visitors amplifies the Aquarium mission to inspire appreciation and conservation of aquatic environments. You’ll find them taking turns in the loggerhead conservation habitat at the Aquarium. Find out more about sea turtle conservation and how you can take action to save them at Sea Turtle Conservation.

NEW: caribBean corals

Caribbean Corals is open at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher (NCAFF) featuring the spectacularly striking fish, corals and other species that inhabit this ecosystem. Through this beautiful representation, Aquarium visitors will glimpse into an underwater world that is the lifeblood for ocean health. 

Some of the species in this new habitat at the Aquarium include redspotted hawkfish, a sharpnose puffer, blue chromis, clown wrasses, molly miller blennies, and tobacco bass.

This new habitat has a lot of growing to do and visitors who experience it now, will follow the journey of the corals as they develop, alongside the fish and other species.