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Maymont seeks public’s help to name new otter joining Robins Nature Center

The new otter is expected to make her first public appearance in March, based on her progress in adjusting to her new home.

Trevor Dickerson

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Move over, Louis the otter, it’s time to share the spotlight at The Robins Nature Center at Maymont. A new otter is preparing to make a debut in March, and Maymont is asking for the public’s help in selecting her name.

The three-year-old female otter arrived shortly after Thanksgiving and has been acclimating to her new environment behind the scenes at The Robins Nature Center with the help of Maymont’s aquarists and zoology staff. After a month-long health quarantine, she and Louis have been gradually getting acquainted in adjacent spaces following a disciplined introduction protocol. On weekdays when The Robins Nature Center is quiet, she and Louis have been taking turns in the outdoor pool area of the otter habitat where they can swim and sun themselves on rocks.

“We are delighted to provide a forever home to this rescued otter in the habitat at Maymont,” said Parke Richeson, Maymont President and CEO. “Otters are an important species in a healthy James River ecosystem, and they help engage our guests in learning more about the environment.”

“Like Louis, this young otter comes from Louisiana, where she had been determined by local authorities to be a nuisance predator to crawfish harvesters,” said Joe Neel, Maymont Senior Manager of Zoology. “We are happy to give her a second chance at a long and healthy life here at Maymont. River otters (Lontra canadensis) have made a comeback in the past decade after a long absence from the James River Park System thanks to improved water quality, but they can be difficult to spot in the wild.”

The new otter is expected to make her first public appearance in March, based on her progress in adjusting to her new home. In the interim, Maymont supporters can submit suggestions for her name when they sign up to Adopt an Animal on Maymont’s website. The top three names will be published in a poll on Maymont’s Facebook and Instagram pages starting March 1 to March 8, where the public can vote on their favorite.

Her new name will be revealed the weekend of March 15, when she will be on view for a few hours a day in The Robins Nature Center (Fridays – Sundays, 10 am – 5 pm; admission is $8 for adults, $6 for children ages 3-16; free for Maymont members and Museums for All participants).

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.