News Release
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
March 2, 2021
(NOTE: Download images of the otter pup at end of press release.)

North American River Otter Pup at Brookfield Zoo being Featured on March 3 Live Chat
Public being asked to Help Name Pup

Brookfield, Ill. – The public will be able to meet one of Brookfield Zoo’s newest additions—a month-old North American river otter—during a “Bringing the Zoo to You” Facebook Live chat tomorrow, March 3, at 11:00 a.m. CT.

The male pup, born on January 20, 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 hope to introduce him back with Charlotte and his dad, Benny, once he is weaned, which will be towards the end of March.

The inquisitive and playful pup needs a name, and Brookfield Zoo is inviting the public to assist in the final selection. Those wishing, can cast a vote for their favorite on the zoo’s website at The name choices are:

  • - Chippewa—name of rivers found in the upper Midwest where North American river otters are found

  • - Flambeau—a river in north-central Wisconsin also found in otters’ native habitat

  • - Pascal—name of otter character in a popular video game

  • - Ozzy—just a really a cute name

  • Voting begins today, March 2, at 11:00 a.m. CT, and continues through Monday, March 15, at 5:00 p.m. CT. The name with the most votes will be announced on Tuesday, March 16.

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 effort as well as expanding otter populations in neighboring states.

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Photo Captions—(credit Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society)
1754 and 1813: Craig Stevens, an animal care specialist at Brookfield Zoo, with a month-old North American river otter pup. The pup is being hand-reared because his mom was not able to provide him with the proper nourishment he needed.
7707, 7713, 7780: A North American river otter, born on January 20 at Brookfield Zoo is doing well. Staff made the decision to intervene and hand-rear him after it was determined his mom was not able to provide him with the proper nourishment he needed.
7838: Maggie Chardell, an animal care specialist at Brookfield Zoo, with a North American river otter who was born on January 20. The pup is being hand-reared by staff after it was determined his mom was not able to provide him with the proper nourishment he needed.

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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