The Florida Aquarium's Center for Conservation receives numerous phone calls each year about injured river otters and orphaned otter pups. Our biologists have rehabilitated numerous pups since the opening of the Aquarium in 1995 and with the opening of our new quarantine and medical holding area, the Aquarium will be able to make an even bigger positive impact in river otter rescue and rehabilitation.
Incoming otter pups can present a variety of challenges to Aquarium staff. From parasites, fungal infections and upper respiratory infections, to bite or talon wounds and not being weaned to the inability to swim!
Through our rehabilitation program, pups develop into healthy, swimming, feeding, full-grown river otters. They are then released or sent to other AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) accredited zoos and aquaria with excellent facilities and successful breeding programs.
In addition to rehabilitation efforts, The Florida Aquarium is involved with otter breeding research, which is still not fully understood. At this time, animals are still being used to supplement populations in zoos and aquarium. It is the Aquarium's goal to develop successful breeding programs to maintain populations in zoos and aquariums sustainably. This is important because river otters serve as ambassadors for the natural environment to encourage otter habitat conservation through exhibits and educational programs.