‘Lemmy is a hoot’: Zoo releases video of new African otters


The Oregon Zoo welcomed two members of a new species to its Africa Rainforest exhibit: spotted-necked otters. (Courtesy/Oregon Zoo)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Visitors to the Oregon Zoo can now see two members of a new species in the Africa Rainforest section: spotted-necked otters.

The zoo welcomed the otters in November, and zookeepers said the duo has a ton of character.

“Lemmy is a hoot,” keeper Kaley McClung said. “He’s full of personality and very curious. He is excitable when it comes to food, and thinks he’s real tough until he’s startled by something. Lila is a very sweet and gentle little otter. She’s nine pounds of cuteness with a hint of stubborn.”

The Oregon Zoo posted a video of the quirky couple exploring their new home.

Spotted-necked otters are native to central Africa, specifically in and around Lake Victoria and Zambia, but according to zoo staff, Lemmy and Lila are just as playful as their North American river otter cousins.

Lemmy was born at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo in 2014, and Lila was born at the San Diego Zoo in 2008 and later moved to the Toronto Zoo, zoo staff said. The pair was moved to Portland to promote genetically diverse, self-sustaining populations of at-risk species.

Spotted-necked otters are classified as near-threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red list.

Zoo-goers can spot Lemmy and Lila between the flamingos and bats in the park’s Africa Rainforest exhibit. Staff said they may spend more time indoors as the weather gets colder, but guests could catch a glimpse of them snuggling up in their heated dens.

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