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Yokohama zoo puts baby otter on display, seeks public's help with name

The baby Eurasian otter that went on public display at Yokohama Zoo Zoorasia. (Photo courtesy of the facility)

YOKOHAMA -- A zoo here put a female baby Eurasian otter on display on April 19 and sought the public's help to name it through a voting system.

The baby was born on Dec. 22, 2017, at Yokohama Zoo Zoorasia in this city's Asahi Ward to 10-year-old female Moko and 13-year-old male Jubei. The mother struggled to raise the baby so zoo keepers stepped in to help. As of April 17, the infant weighed 2.1 kilograms and was about 50 centimeters long.

The otter is scheduled to be displayed to the public on April 19, 20, 24 and 25 from 9:45 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Three potential names have been nominated -- "Kuneko," "Kuune," and "Kunetty" -- and the facility will accept votes from visitors over the four days. The otter's name will be decided by the most popular choice.

The Eurasian otter is part of the weasel family and its habitat ranges widely. The number of such otters in the wild has decreased due to global environmental changes and hunting for their fur. The Eurasian otter has been placed on the red list ("near threatened") of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Importing or exporting the otter for commercial use is prohibited under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or Washington Convention.

(Japanese original by Yoshihiro Tanaka, Yokohama Bureau)

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