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Taronga Western Plains Zoo Otters Welcome Their Second Litter

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: May 11, 2020

Photo Credit: Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo have watched on as their oriental small-clawed otter Jafar gave birth to her second litter of pups on April 28th 2020.

As the birth took place during the day, keepers were able to watch live on a CCTV camera installed in Jafar’s den. The first pup was born just before 11am and the last emerged prior to midday.

Keeper Tarryn Williams was present for the birth and said, “It was really exciting to be present for the birth and be able to witness it all unfolding. Often we arrive at work and the pups have been born overnight or in the early hours of the morning, so to see it happen was really special.”

“Jafar had spent a lot of time in the nest box that morning and we observed a lot of nesting behaviour, then from about 10am it was obvious she was quite uncomfortable and we assumed she might be in labour.”

“It was a really proud moment for the keepers seeing how well Jafar was doing,” stated Tarryn.

Jafar and her partner Harry gave birth to their first litter of four pups in 2019 on May 1st. With this being their second litter keepers have noted that Jafar is more relaxed.

Harry is also proving to be a great dad. He ensures the pups are toileted, groomed and covered in nesting material while in the nest box.

The parents are also enjoying a helping hand from the previous litter of 4 pups that are still living with them.

Photo Credit: Taronga Western Plains Zoo

It is currently unknown what genders the pups are with keeper Tarryn saying, “At this stage we don’t know if the pups are males or females as we just monitor the group via CCTV cameras in the nest box. There will be an opportunity to weigh the pups, determine their sex and health check them in the coming weeks.”

Otter pups are born with their eyes closed and it is expected that the pups will first open their eyes between 28 and 47 days.

While it is expected the otters will leave their nest box for the first time at 52 days old it is unknown if guests will be able to visit, with Taronga Western Plains Zoo currently closed to guests for their safety with the ongoing pandemic. While you cannot visit Taronga Western Plains Zoo in person you can meet the animal’s and those from their sister zoo, Taronga Zoo Sydney on Taronga TV – www.taronga.org.au/tarongatv.

The oriental small clawed otter is found in rivers, mangroves and swamps throughout South-East Asia and is considered vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as a result of habitat destruction, construction of roads and railways, dams, hunting, logging and pollution.

You can learn more about the small-clawed otter here – Oriental Small Clawed Otter | The Animal Facts

Learn more about Taronga Western Plains Zoo here – Taronga Western Plains Zoo Website


Sources


IUCN assessment https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/4212/17947340https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/4212/17947340

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