ASHEBORO, N.C. – Two North American river otter pups orphaned after their mother was hit by a car are recovering as state agencies help rehabilitate them before reintroducing them to the wild. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island and North Carolina Zoo partnered to help ensure the best possible outcome for the young otters.
The pups – approximately six weeks old – are currently in the care of the North Carolina Zoo’s Valerie H. Schindler Wildlife Rehab Center, where they will continue to be treated and evaluated for several months. Their journey to the Zoo in Asheboro followed valuable input and cooperation among the participating agencies to help ensure their well-being.
They were deemed to be ideal candidates for rehabilitation and release because the pups were recently recovered without excessive human contact. In this case, reintroducing them to the wild is the best course of action for the animals.
Over the coming months in the Zoo’s care, the otters will transition from formula to solid food and catching fish on their own. Their final stages of care will be in a safe, outdoor, aquatic enclosure where they can prepare for their return to the wild.
Once ready, the Zoo will coordinate their release with the aquarium and the Commission. They are expected to be released back into the wild in late summer or early fall.
“This is such a great example of how state agencies can work together to achieve wonderful results,” said Susi H. Hamilton, secretary of the N.C. Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources. “I am so proud of our zoo and aquarium staffs and N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission for all they do every single day to nurture and protect not only the animals