South Carolina Aquarium has added two adorable new creatures to its downtown Charleston facility.
The pair of North American River Otters have joined the aquarium's resident senior otter duo, Ace and Stono (18- and 17-years-old, respectively).
The South Carolina Aquarium animal care team had been working on adding two new family members to their bevy through a Species Survival Plan (SSP) program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) since 2019.
"The SSP provides breeding and transfer recommendations for all otters living at AZA member zoos and aquariums, determining placement based on each animal's genetics and best fit," Annemarie Ferrie, aquarium animal behaviorist, said in a news release.
In September 2020, the SSP suggested two male littermates from Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, Michigan. These brothers were deemed a perfect fit based on their ages, personalities, and welfare needs.
The addition of the yet-to-be-named otter pups, who just recently turned one, will ensure that neither Ace nor Stono will be without social support when one passes.
"The timing was right for Ace and Stono to meet new otters while they are still active and curious. The new otters will add a lot of playful energy to the Aquarium's river otter habitat! Eventually, age will catch up with Ace and Stono, and they will pass on," Ferrie explained. "An otter that is used to companionship may experience depression. With that in mind, we decided that it was in Ace and Stono's best welfare interests to welcome these new otters to provide continued socialization through their senior years, as well as to support the river otter SSP."
The four otters are being slowly introduced to ensure a seamless integration. In the meantime, South Carolina Aquarium is asking for the public's help in naming the two young otters. Keep an eye on their social media!