Gail, the Santa Barbara Zoo’s female Asian small-clawed otter, gave birth to four healthy pups last Friday, the Zoo announced.
Gail, Peeta (the dad), and Berbudi (Gail’s older brother) will all work together as a family to raise the pups, the Zoo said, so the group will remain off exhibit for one to two months while the young ones mature and learn how to swim.
Santa Barbara’s otters are part of the Species Survival Plan, a cooperative conservation program run by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which ensures genetic diversity among zoos, sustains populations, and guards against extinction.
Asian small-clawed otters are the smallest of all 13 otter species and are found in southern India, southern China, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. They live in small streams, rivers, marshes, rice paddies, seacoasts, and mangroves, and, true to their name, their claws do not extend beyond their digital pads.