Meet Pascal, Our North American River Otter Pup

Brookfield Zoo is home to over 2,300 animals but none of them are getting more attention these days than Pascal, our three-month-old North American river otter pup.

Born on January 20, Pascal is being hand-reared by animal care staff after it was determined that his mom, Charlotte, was not able to provide him with the proper nourishment he needed. Staff hopes to introduce him back to Charlotte and his dad, Benny, once he is weaned.

Brookfield Zoo is very thankful to the 18,000+ people who voted to name him Pascal, which is the name of an otter character in a popular video game. The name reveal was announced on a recent Bringing the Zoo to You live chat.

Pascal has been growing rapidly, but still has a ways to go before he’s fully grown. He has recently been introduced to water and is progressing well in his daily swimming sessions. Animal care staff say that Pascal is full of energy and learns new things every day. Like most otters, Pascal is very playful and inquisitive. He still receives the majority of his nourishment from a bottle, and is being introduced to solid foods. Staff is planning to introduce him back with his mom Charlotte and dad Benny at the zoo’s Swamp habitat once he is fully weaned, which should be in the near future.

Those interested in helping to provide expert care for the North American river otters at Brookfield Zoo can participate in the Society's Animal Adoption program. For a $35 donation, you or a recipient will receive a 5" x 7" color photo of a North American river otter at Brookfield Zoo, a personalized adoption certificate, a species fact sheet, and an Animal Adoption decal. To adopt an otter or for further information, visit or call (708) 688-8341.

The Illinois population of North American river otters—fewer than 100 individuals in the late 1980s—was once threatened due to over harvesting and habitat loss. However, a successful recovery program initiated in the early 1990s by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources helped increase the number of otters in the state. The program included relocating nearly 350 otters from Louisiana to central and southeastern Illinois. The state also engaged in conserving wetlands and wooded areas along streams and rivers, which is otter habitat. Today, the species is common throughout Illinois thanks to these efforts as well as expanding otter populations in neighboring states.

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Posted: 3/23/2021 3:41:23 PM by Sean Keeley

CZS & Brookfield Zoo

Since the opening of Brookfield Zoo in 1934, the Chicago Zoological Society has had an international reputation for taking a cutting-edge role in animal care and conservation of the natural world. Learn more about the animals, people, and research that make up CZS here at our blog.


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