Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Aquarium Campaign Highlights Flourishing Otter Family

Sep 5, 2023

There’s a Whole Lotta Otta at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher (NCAFF) thanks to prolific parents Leia and Quincy, a pair of Asian small-clawed otters. They welcomed two litters of three pups in less than a year. The rambunctious romp of otters is complemented by Asta and Ray, the mother-son duo who live around the corner—all told 10 otters in the Otters on the Edge habitat. These otters, native to Southeast Asia, southern India, southern China, Indonesia and the Philippines are a vulnerable species, and the Aquarium is working to save them through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) Program.

The marketing campaign Whole Lotta Otta features the otters on static and digital billboards, buses, shuttles, social media posts and digital ads to raise awareness about the otters in the Aquarium and share their story of survival.

“We hear visitors get excited all the time about how many otters there are scurrying and playing in the habitats at the Aquarium—so Whole Lotta Otta came from this enthusiasm. We want to shine a light on how critical it is that the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is saving species through our work with the AZA,” said Deyanira Romo Rossell, communications manager, NCAFF.

The first litter, all female, unanimously named Stella, Mae and Selene by the community were born May 21, 2022. The second litter, one female and two males, Gemma, Kai and Ren, also named by the community, were born Jan. 31, 2023. The excitement they inspire offers a unique opportunity to reach a broader audience which is at the core of the Aquarium mission to inspire appreciation and conservation of our aquatic environments.

For the Aquarium, the most important takeaways are that individual actions can make a difference. For Asian small-clawed otters, buying Bird Friendly ® certified coffee preserves critical habitat for birds and wildlife, fights climate change, protects biodiversity, and supports farmers committed to conserving bird and wildlife habitat by farming sustainably.

The 92,000-square-foot Aquarium features 400,000 gallons of freshwater and saltwater habitats with a collection of 240 species and 3,893 animals. Other animals that like the otters, create an instant connection are Luna, the albino alligator, Shelldon, the green sea turtle, two loggerhead sea turtles, two sand tiger sharks, a bonnethead shark and Maverick, the bald eagle. Find out more about the Aquarium's Asian small-clawed otters at About Asian small-clawed otters.

Another green step that anyone can take is switching away from single-use plastic to reusable water bottles, shopping bags and straws. More sustainability information is available at Green and Getting Greener.

NCAFF and its sister facilities, the North Carolina Aquariums at Pine Knoll Shores and Roanoke Island, opened in 1976 as marine resources centers with a combined visitation of 341,000 in their first year of operation. Jennette’s Pier, the oldest fishing pier on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, rounded out the facilities in 2002. The four are among the 100 locations across the state under the management of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

The NC Aquariums are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the gold standard for animal care and conservation.

The Aquarium is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., only closing on Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day. Advanced online tickets are required to visit the Aquarium. Ticket reservations are available at NCAFF Admissions.


About the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher  
The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is just south of Kure Beach, a short drive from Wilmington, on U.S. 421. The site is less than a mile from the Fort Fisher ferry terminal. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission: $12.95 ages 13-61; $10.95 children ages 3-12; $11.95 seniors (62 and older) and military with valid identification; EBT card holders: $3. Free admission for children 2 and younger and N.C. Aquarium Society members and N.C. Zoo members.

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