Swimming is a "L-Otter" Fun
Swimming with endangered animals looks like a l-otter fun. A US conservation facility is helping promote the plight of an endangered variety of otter with some underwater play. Little Chin is one of three Asian small-clawed otters being cared for at the Myrtle Beach Safari in South Carolina.
Born into captivity to help boost numbers and public awareness 1-year-old Chin has been raised from a pup by her trainer Moksha Bybee, 34.
I consider her to be my otter daughter, said Moksha who walks and swims with Chin every day. The aquatic action takes place in a specially-designed 67,000 gallon pool which is big enough to give an elephant a few laps.
"Chin rides on my shoulder and I have a little harness to keep her safe because otters can be very slippery on land," added Moksha. The lovable river mammal loves to scoff on minnows, tilapia fish, trout and a specially made feed called "otter chow." "She sometimes likes to eat a hard boiled egg and her favorite toys are a red rubber ball and a bell," said Moksha. Named after in river in Asia, Chin may look like the perfect companion but only a trained professional could care for her. "Otters only bond with one or two people and should not be kept as pets at all," said Doc Antle, 53, who runs the wildlife preserve.
"They are prone to biting people they don't know and they have extremely strong jaws and sharp teeth," added Doc. "She has this cute little face but if she bit you it could be 50 stitches before you know it. Their bite is as bad as a large dog's." Known for their dexterity small-clawed otters are facing possible extinction in Asia due to deforestation and pollution in the rivers. Scientists call them an "indicator species" because the entire ecosystem is connected to the health of their population. Small-clawed otters are the tiniest of all the otter species. The largest is the giant otter or 'river wolf' of the Amazon -- an endangered beast that can grow up to 5.6 feet long and weigh 75lbs.