Otters settle into old seal pool
Monday 5 September 2005
The old seal pool at Whipsnade has had a revamp and now plays host to a group of oriental short clawed otters.
As the second oldest enclosure at Whipsnade (the bear garden being the oldest) the seal pool has seen many visitors and several different inhabitants. Built in 1932 it was initially one of the first chimp islands in Europe and over the years it has housed seals, sealions and even swans.
But now the pool has been turned into a real play haven for otters with partially submerged trees, sunken roots and aquatic plants which closely mimic their natural wetland environment and provide a host of nooks and crannies for the otters to hide and play in.
Plus, there are two water slides which provide the otters with a lot of entertainment as they engage in play such as wrestling, juggling stones and sliding on their bellies into water.
The oriental short clawed otters are currently in danger, their main threats in the wild being pollution and hunting, and the seven males are part of the ZSL Captive Breeding Programme and Biodiversity Action Plan at Whipsnade.