Tuesday March 19th 2019

Colchester Zoo: See Otter’s new home

August 18th, 2011 by
Categories: Featured · Special Events

Colchester Zoo’s latest new exhibit, Otter Creek, is now open and houses a group of six smooth-coated otters in a spacious and exciting new home!

In this fantastic new exhibit the otters are able to enjoy access to a main pool, equipped with water filtration as well as water heating facilities to allow them a warm, comfortable environment. The otters can also enjoy a swim in the ‘swamp’ area and explore within the plants and bushes throughout the enclosure, providing an exciting and diverse home for them to inhabit.

The exhibit also features a waterfall and running stream sitting beside the recently updated picnic area allowing visitors to catch a glimpse of the otters whilst eating enjoying a bite to eat. There are plenty of other viewing opportunities for visitors to watch this charismatic species, with three separate viewing screens at different angles to the enclosure and two undercover information areas.

Colchester Zoo’s group of smooth-coated otters consist of an adult pair and their four offspring which were born on the 2nd May 2011. The sexes of the otter pups are still unknown at this point and they are yet to be named. The adults joined the collection last October from the Rare Species Conservation Centre (RSCC) in Kent. The adult male, named Kong Kea (which means “Big Water” in Cambodian) was born in May 2006 at a Rescue centre in Cambodia and the adult female, named Chea (which means “to be well and healthy” in Cambodian) was also born in 2006. She was rescued from wildlife traders also in Cambodia.

“As the otters have only just moved into their new home they may be difficult to spot and you may need to return in the day to catch sight of the group but they can often be seen getting up to mischief and playing around with each other.

Having come from rescue situations in Cambodia, it is really great news that the adults have now bred successfully”, commented the zoo’s Zoological Director, Anthony Tropeano.

The only other collections to house the Smooth-coated otters in Europe are Belfast Zoo and the Rare Species Conservation Centre in Kent. Smooth-coated otters are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list, this means that they are at risk of becoming a threatened species. One of the major threats to the survival of the smooth-coated otter is the loss of suitable habitat. The breeding success at Colchester Zoo helps to ensure a healthy captive population aiding the continued existence of this species.

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