Two New Otterly Adorable Additions

The Virginia Zoo’s two newest additions are otterly adorable. Asian small-clawed otters Puba and Alana arrived last month as social companions as part of the Zoo’s Species Survival Plan.

Female otter, Alana, was born in October 2018 at the Columbus Zoo and male, Puba, was born September 2007 at Zoo Miami. The pair completed a routine quarantine period and wellness exams before being introduced to each other behind-the-scenes at their Asia – Trail of the Tiger exhibit.

Puba (left) and Alana (right).

The pair have been brought together by a social-companionship recommendation from the Association for Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Program®, which oversees and manages species’ population in zoos by pairing individuals for companionship or breeding as well as monitoring breeding to maximize genetic diversity and long-term sustainability of populations.

Alana and Puba officially made their debut on exhibit in late February. The pair are acclimating to their new habitat and will soon be introduced to their other exhibit-mates, white-cheeked gibbons Dexter and Asia, when temperatures are consistently warmer.

They can be distinguished from one another by the color of their necks; Alana has a white neck while Puba’s neck is tan. Keepers also say their personalities stand out from the other. While Puba is outgoing, vocal, energetic, and seems to enjoy swimming deep to the bottom of the pool, Alana is shy, very smart, food motivated and seems to enjoy swimming around the waterfall.