Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Otters named after Olympic stars

Otter pups Rebecca and Daley look around their enclosure at Chester Zoo
Ten-week-old otter Rebecca was named after Olympian Rebecca Adlington
Chester Zoo vets check the health of baby otter Daley

Tiny newborn otters at Chester Zoo have been named after British Olympic medal hopefuls.

The two Asian short-clawed otters were named Daley, after diver Tom Daley, and Rebecca, in honour of swimmer Rebecca Adlington.

Keeper Hannah Sievewright said: "These are one of the zoo's most adept species in the water and so we thought it was very apt to name our newborn pups after two of our best athletes from the (swimming) pool.

"Hopefully, the real Tom Daley and Rebecca Adlington will demonstrate similar aquatic prowess to that of our otters and grab gold at the games."

The tiny pups were born on May 20 and are the offspring of mother Daisy and father Robbie.

Daley and Rebecca were given their first health checks earlier as Chester Zoo's vets determined their sexes, weighed them and gave them a physical examination.

Veterinary officer Livia Benato said: "Just as all of the athletes going to the games in London need to be in tip-top body condition, so too should all of our animals.

"And we're delighted to say that our otter pups are in great shape. Daley weighed in at 352 grams and Rebecca was a little heavier at 380g.

"They both appear really healthy and so we are very, very happy with them. As they grow and gain confidence, we're all looking forward to seeing them splash around in the water."

Asian short-clawed otters - the world's smallest otter species - are classed by conservation organisations as vulnerable to extinction. The new pups will therefore eventually become part of a European-wide breeding programme, providing an important safety net to populations in the wild.

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