Aquarium of the Bay is excited to announce the newest addition to its aquatic family: Tahoe, a juvenile North American river otter.
North American river otters live throughout California and are an important indicator for the health of the waterways that feed into San Francisco Bay. Photo courtesy of Bay Aquarium
BY MALLORY JOHNSON
Aquarium of the Bay is excited to announce the newest addition to its aquatic family: Tahoe, a juvenile North American river otter. Tahoe is now scheduled to make his public debut on Friday, April 14 in the Aquarium of the Bay’s North American River Otter Gallery.
Tahoe, who recently celebrated his first birthday in February, is a Bay Area native, born at the Oakland Zoo. He will join Aquarium of the Bay’s other loveable river otters: Shasta, Baxter and Ryer. As a matter of fact, he is the half-brother of frisky brothers Baxter and Ryer, also born in Oakland.
While Tahoe has yet to meet the public, he has been hanging out behind the scenes at Aquarium of the Bay since February getting to know his otter companions—and he’s already fitting in perfectly! When he’s in the mood to romp and play, he’ll seek out Baxter or Ryer, who are known to be quite rambunctious. When he’s ready for a nap, however, he knows to cuddle up to Shasta, our resident otter elder and expert napper.
Being a playful river otter, Tahoe has settled on some of his favorite playthings—including rope toys when on land and rings that he likes to play with in the water. He even likes to wear rings around his front paws, possibly in an attempt to start a new fashion trend. He has also displayed a particular talent for juggling ice, golf balls and other small items, giving Fisherman’s Wharf’s street performers a run for their money.
In addition to making new otter friends, Tahoe has also been spending time developing a relationship with aquarium biologists. Aquarium of the Bay employs free contact training, a specialized training technique for zoos and aquariums, and one that requires a deep level of trust between the biologists and otters. Free contact training removes the barrier typically kept between otters and biologists, and instead lets them work directly together. This method is useful for biologists to track the health of the otters, and is beneficial when it comes time for veterinary checkups.
Tahoe will join Shasta, Baxter, Ryer and the 20,000 fish, sharks and other animals living at Aquarium of the Bay to help share the message about the importance of the health and interconnectedness of our natural resources. North American river otters (Lontra canadensis) live throughout California and are an important indicator for the health of the waterways that feed into San Francisco Bay. By providing the opportunity for the Aquarium’s guests—including over 20,000 school children who visit for free each year—to connect with river otters, Aquarium of the Bay is working to build a connection between its visitors, the river otters and a healthy watershed.
Learn more about North American river otters at Aquarium of the Bay or by visiting www.aquariumofthebay.org.
Mallory Johnson is the Communications Manager at Aquarium of the Bay, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting, restoring and inspiring the conservation of San Francisco Bay and its watershed.