May 2024 4

Giant Otter Cubs Celebrate Half Birthday at New Forest Wildlife Park

26th Jun 2024

Can you believe it's been six months since the pitter-patter of tiny giant otter paws graced the New Forest Wildlife Park? It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating their Christmas arrival on 25th December 2023.

Born to proud parents Simuni and Ibera, these little bundles marked a special moment in conservation. You see, Simuni is a bit of a legend – the oldest giant otter to become a dad in Europe at the ripe old age of 13.5!

Six month Cub-date - Both Guapo and Acari are doing extremely well!

Here’s an update on the cubs from Senior Animal Keeper Lizzy:

“Guapo is a very brave and cheeky boy who loves to try and take the first fish from the keepers at every meal time, if big sister Karanambu gets one before him he will chase her and steal it!

Luckily big sis absolutely adores both cubs and lets them get away with everything. Guapo loves the camera a little too much and will run right up to it, although he is very naughty when he tries to bite it! Acari is a very sweet girl, who patiently waits for her turn to either grab a fish from the keeper or for dad Simuni to give her his fish. Acari has definitely become a daddy's girl, who is absolutely doted on by Simuni.

Both cubs have become so playful with the family, constantly running around, swimming and play fighting, even elderly dad Simuni joins in! With all five otters running about, it was very clear that as Guapo and Acari grow up the family would need more space. We were lucky enough to have the space available to give them a huge extension by renovating Simuni and Ibera's first enclosure. Their extension features a second pool, indoor holt and lots of space to run and play!”

Why are these births so important?

Giant otters are facing serious challenges in their natural habitat. These playful creatures, known for their fishing prowess, are sadly classified as endangered due to habitat loss and illegal hunting for their fur.
The arrival of the cubs represents a vital step in their conservation. The New Forest Wildlife Park, an active participant in the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) for giant otters, is dedicated to protecting these incredible animals.

What makes Giant Otters so special?

As the largest of the world's 13 otter species, giant otters can grow up to a whopping 6 feet long! With distinct throat markings, each one is individual. They're social animals, often found in family groups, and their playful nature is a joy to behold. Their diet consists mainly of fish, including the notorious piranha, making them an important part of the Amazonian ecosystem.

How can you help?

The New Forest Wildlife Park encourages everyone to join them in their mission to save giant otters. By supporting their conservation efforts, you're not only helping to protect these magnificent creatures, but you're also contributing to the preservation of the planet's precious biodiversity. Every action counts, and together, we can make a difference.

Be sure to visit the park to witness the adorable giant otter family in person.

Plan you visit

With over 200 animals from 30 species, 2 adventure playgrounds, a cafe on site and set in the beautiful tranquil New Forest, theres many reasons to visit!

What to see and do

NFWP Lowerres 07945

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