MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There’s lots to be happy about at Zoo Miami as a nearly five-week old litter of highly endangered giant otters are growing, and a lion cub, which has faced many challenges since birth in December, remains stable.
The two male otter pups were born on December 19 and are presently in a secluded den being raised by their mother “Kara” and father “Witoto.” This is the fifth successful litter produced by this pair.
Mother of the pups was captive born at the Philadelphia Zoo and Witoto is on loan from the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Natural Resources in Brazil.
Only about two-feet long, and approximately weighing five-pounds, the nearly five-week-old pups are just beginning to open their eyes.
The pups will remain in the den with their parents for the next several weeks prior to being introduced to their exhibit.
The endangered pups, as adults, may grow to be nearly six feet long and weigh close to 75 pounds.
Commonly called “River Wolves” in their native habitat, giant otters are found in isolated and remote areas within some fresh water lakes, rivers, creeks, and reservoirs of tropical South America. Their numbers have been drastically reduced due to fur hunting and habitat destruction.
Born just days before in Zoo Miami, a lion cub remains stable and zoo officials, though hopeful, remain guarded about its chances for long term survival. The male offspring remains with its mother and is supplemented three times a day with special milk in a bottle by zoo staff.
Zoo Miami is grateful that the cub’s mother has allowed officials to provide cub with a bottle through a barrier while still accepting it following each feeding.
The cub, the only one in the litter, has faced several challenges since its birth ranging from dehydration to bacterial infections but has managed to pull through each time thanks to quick action by animal science personnel.
Zoo staff will remain vigilant in caring for this cub as it still faces many challenges in the next several months.