Love in the air for pair of Doncaster otters after first meeting at wildlife park
Love is in the air for an endangered species’ pair at Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster.
Alexandra and Orimar, two giant otters, a species that is native to South America, swam, dived and played together after first meeting at the park’s giant otter reserve.
Amy Wright, who is a ranger at the park in Branton, said: “It was love at first sight and they played all afternoon much to the delight of visitors.
“It’s early days but they are very happy together and we are crossing our fingers for otter cubs in the future.
“They are really playful and social animals so it is great to see Alex and Ori enjoying themselves.”
Alexandra, who has a distinctive white flash on her throat, celebrates her seventh birthday this week.
She arrived at the park with her sister Mora in 2015, and Orimar has arrived recently as a potential breeding partner for the giant otter.
Amy said: “When Mora went to Zoo Zlin in the Czech Republic as part of the European breeding programme to protect the endangered species, Alexandra was made her displeasure known very vocally indeed.
“Ori had been living next door to the two sisters since his arrival last week and Alexandra was already very interested in his presence.
“When Mora left on her own adventure to another zoo, Alex and Ori were getting on so well through the mesh wall that separated them that we decided to put them together earlier than planned. There was no stopping them then.
“Ori set off across the reserve with Alex and they hit it off straight away.
“They have been playing in the lake and diving in and out of their indoor pool to the delight of the visitors.”
The Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation, which is based at the park, is supporting projects in Brazil to save the species, whose numbers have plunged to less than 5,000 in the wild from habitat loss, increased farming and fishing.
It funds a key project in the 90,000 hectare Cantão State Park, in Brazil, which is home to 700 species of birds and 300 species of fish.
The scheme is creating local jobs, improving ecosystem management, conservation awareness and establishing new river channels and oxbow lakes as sanctuaries for giant otters.
Sadly, the reserve supported by the Foundation was recently threatened by forest fires that were raging through the Amazon.
“We couldn’t have hoped for a better start.” Amy added, about the blossoming relationship between the endangered couple.
Here in the UK, visitors can see some of the world's most beautiful and rare animals, including Alex and Ori, and the country’s only polar bears at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
For tickets, visit www.booking.yorkshirewildlifepark.com/book.aspx.