Nov. 4, 2014. New North American river otters Emmy and Oscar debuted to the public Monday afternoon at Grandfather Mountain. Habitat keepers relocated the 9-month-old otters from their private quarters to the public habitat around 3 p.m., where they were inseperable as they explored their new surroundings for the first time.
“It’s such a treat to be able to finally share these spirited little pups with our guests,” said Habitat Curator Christie Tipton. “We thought they might be a little timid at first, but they never stopped moving once they entered the habitat.”
“This has already been a week of firsts for them, as they experienced snow for the first time on Saturday.”
The young siblings arrived at Grandfather Mountain in August from a wildlife rehabilitator after being orphaned at a young age. The two survived a dog attack on their den and were raised in the presence of humans, so they could not be released back into the wild.
They have lived at a private habitat called The Plaza since their arrival three months ago. Now, otters Nottaway and Luna, who previously delighted guests at the public habitat, have retired to The Plaza.
“We weren’t sure exactly when we would be able to make this transition, as it hinged on whether we could lure Nottaway safely into the travel kennel,” Tipton said. “Even when we tempt him with fish, he’s often reluctant to go.”
Habitat staff originally hoped to include Nova, a 1-year-old otter, in the public habitat with Emmy and Oscar. Despite a positive initial meeting, the three could not reconcile their differences and had to be separated. Nova will remain at The Plaza with Nottaway and Luna.
“After the loss of our cougar, Nikita, last week, it was such a joy to be able to celebrate this happy occasion in our Animal Habitats,” Tipton said.
Guests can see the new otters for themselves daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weather permitting.
The not-for-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call (800) 468-7325 or visit www.grandfather.com to plan a trip.
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