10th Jul 2012

Chesnut Centre delivers otter conservation first

Giant Otter 300 dpi

Derbyshire’s Chesnut Centre is at the centre of a first for UK animal conservation.

In December Akuri, a giant otter was born at the Chapel-en-le-Frith centre. This is the first time anyone has ever managed to breed one in the UK and he has now been selected to take part in a breeding programme in the Carribean!

He will be flown from his current base in Hampshire to Emperor Valley Zoo in Port of Spain, Trinidad where he will be paired with a specially selected female so that they will breed.

The hope is that they will produce a healthy litter which can be introduced back in to their native habitat of South America.

The historic achievement is a total first for the UK and it is testament to the hard work that everyone at the centre puts in, particularly owners Roger and Carol Heap. They have been involved with conservation for around thirty years. Indeed, Carol started in the 1980′s when she cared for rescued otters in her back garden.

It is a move that can’t come soon enough as the giant otter is sadly highly endangered, their numbers have been cut dramatically by illegal hunting for their fur and by the destruction of their habitats thanks to deforestation, mining and pollution. There are now only between 1,000 and 5,000 left in the wild.

Carol welcomed the news of the breeding plan by saying “We are all thrilled and excited by this development. Giant otters are highly endangered and we are really pleased Akuri was chosen to breed and help conserve this important and lovely species.”

If the whole thing goes to plan Akuri may well find people asking for his otter-graph…

The Chesnut Centre Otter, Owl and Wildlife park can be contacted on 01298 814099.




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Written by adam