Three-year-old Diego Junior has moved from Bioparc Zoo de Doué-la-Fontaine in France after being chosen as the perfect genetic match for the zoo’s resident female, Icana.
Giant otters are endangered, with no more than 5,000 estimated to remain in their native South America. It is feared the actual number could be as low as just 1,000 individuals and they are already extinct in Uruguay and Argentina.
Conservationists at the zoo say the decline in numbers is a result of massive habitat destruction, water pollution and illegal poaching across South America, making the breeding programme vitally important to the future of the species.
It is hoped Diego Junior will mate successfully with Icana Tim Rowlands, curator of mammals, said signs were already looking positive: