News Release
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
March 16, 2021
 NOTE: Download photos of Pascal, Brookfield Zoo's North American river otter pup at bottom of press release.

Brookfield Zoo Announces Name of North American River Otter Pup

Brookfield, Ill. – Today, during a live chat on TikTok, Chicago Zoological Society animal care staff announced the name of Brookfield Zoo’s nearly 2-month-old river otter pup. For the past two weeks, the public has been able to vote for their favorite name among four choices. More than 18,000 votes were cast to determine the winner—Pascal, which is the name of an otter character in a popular video game. Those who missed the live chat, will be able to watch it on the zoo's Facebook page or YouTube channel.

Since debuting to the general public on March 3, 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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Photo Captions—(credit CZS/Brookfield Zoo)
03, 12, 20, 23, 3392, 5786, 6473: Pascal, a nearly 2-month-old North American river otter pup at Brookfield Zoo. More than 18,000 votes were cast by the public over a two-week period to determine the pup’s name, which was announced on March 17 during a TikTok live chat.
5094: Pascal, a nearly 2-month-old North American river otter pup at Brookfield Zoo, is introduced to water by Maggie Chardell, an animal care specialist.

About the Chicago Zoological Society
The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by engaging people and communities with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. The zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, and CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit


Sondra Katzen
Media Relations Manager
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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