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5 otter cubs make debut at Yokohama marine park

Healthy young Asian small-clawed otter pups are seen at Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise on April 15, 2021, in Yokohama's Kanazawa Ward. (Mainichi/Kentaro Ikushima)

YOKOHAMA -- Five adorable Asian small-clawed otter pups born at Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise in this city's Kanazawa Ward went on public display for the first time on April 16, scampering around their enclosure and playing with their parents.

    Asian small-clawed river otters are native to areas including Southeast Asia and are the world's smallest river otter species. Their numbers have fallen due to deforestation and capture, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species classifies them as a threatened species.

    An Asian small-clawed otter pup is seen sidling up to a parent at Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise on April 15, 2021, in Yokohama's Kanazawa Ward. (Mainichi/Kentaro Ikushima)

    The pups, four females and one male, are the first born at Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise in some 20 years. They have grown to about 20 centimeters in length and each weighs some 600 grams, and they're learning to eat fish.

    A keeper in charge of their care said, "With so much bad news during the coronavirus crisis, the birth of the pups is happy news. These otters have a strong tendency to stay together in couples, so I hope that seeing the adults strive together to raise their young will give people hope."

    (Japanese original by Kentaro Ikushima, Photo Group)

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