Photos by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.
|Two pups follow mom outside for the very first time.|
Everyone is busy getting the Asian small-clawed otter pups ready for their outdoor debut. Mom and dad have been teaching the pups how to swim in a shallow, indoor pool in their behind-the-scenes den. Zookeepers have been baby-proofing the outdoor exhibit—adding ramps made from branches to the water and slowing the stream and waterfall down to a trickle so the pups don’t wipe out.
|The pups followed mom onto exhibit briefly.|
All is set. Now we just need to get the pups to come outside for a little practice time. That’s proving to be the hardest part.
|Taking a peek at the waterfall on exhibit.|
Last Tuesday morning, mom Teratai guided her pups out onto exhibit to give them a chance to explore the outdoors for the first time.
|Notice the little patch on the pup's side? Each pup has a unique shaved patch to help keepers tell them apart at a glance.|
She ushered the pups out and as she was busy trying to get them to head towards the water with her, overprotective dad Guntur would come around and usher them right back inside! He’s very cautious with the pups and it may take him a little while before he feels comfortable letting them romp around outside for longer periods.
|Dad scoops up a baby to take him back inside.|
In total, the pups had about 10 minutes outside on their first day, but that adventure was eventful enough for their tiny bodies that they crashed into nap time soon after and didn’t pop back outside for the rest of the day.
|That's far enough for one day!|
These intermittent introductions will continue in little bursts to build up the pups’ confidence and experience outside, while building up Guntur’s comfort as well. Then we’ll be ready to provide more regular outdoor access and visitors can begin to see the family on exhibit. We’ll be sure to announce when that time has come!