Monday, July 22, 2024

Aquarium names otter pups after 14K vote

Stella, Mae and Selene, the 3-month old otter pups at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. (Courtesy NCAFF).

FORT FISHER — The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher has selected names for its Asian small-clawed otter pups, born May 21, after two weeks of public voting. 

14,000 votes were culled to decide the names. 

READ MORE: Three otter pups born at Fort Fisher aquarium

The public landed on:

  • Stella — Latin for “star.”
  • Mae — For the Thai goddess of water, Mae Phra Khongkha, who is celebrated with a festival during the first full moon in November.
  • Selene — Greek for “moon,” also the Greek goddess of the moon.

The otters were born during a full moon, King Tide and storm, and their names reflect those lunar events. Asian small-clawed otters are native to Indonesia, southern China, southern India, Southeast Asia and the Philippines. 

Here are the name groupings that were not chosen: 

  • Padma, Bulan and Melati (Indonesia’s three national flowers—the Giant Padma, Anggrek bulan, the moth orchid; and Melati putih, the Arabian Jasmine)
  • Tala, Reyna and Ula (bright star, queen and small one)
  • Java, Bali and Nusa (Volcanic islands in Indonesia)

The species is listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. Their population is in decline due to many threats, including residential and commercial development, deforestation, the illegal pet trade, pollution, climate change and poaching. 

The aquarium suggests a few ways to help protect the otter species including purchasing shade-grown coffee, which is produced on farms with a shade cover that provides important habitat for different species, preventing deforestation and destruction of animal homes. The aquarium also says people should not support illegally traded wild animals as pets, think before buying furs, and support aquarium conservation efforts, like the North Carolina Aquarium Society.

The public can follow along with the otters by following their journey on Facebook and and Instagram using #OtterPupsNCAFF. Reservations are required to visit the aquarium and can be purchased on its website.

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