The first giant otter to be born at Yorkshire Wildlife Park has been making a splash on her first public appearance.
Bonita, the five month old pup, needed to cool off on the hottest day of the year and took the brave decision to have a dip in the large pool at the giant otter reserve, to the delight of visitors at the South Yorkshire attraction.
Bonita has been busy watching and learning from her parents, Alexandra and Orimar diving and swimming and has already developed impressive skills in her indoor pool.
Bonita, who was born on Boxing Day, is an important arrival at the park as the first giant otter cub born at the Park. The species is endangered in its native Amazonian rain forests by deforestation, water pollution and hunting.
“This is Alex and Ori’s first cub and they are doing an exceptional job. They are very attentive,” said Tilly McGill, an animal ranger in the Aquatics department at the park, at Auckley, near Doncaster. “They have been inside a lot during the winter and the cold spring but visitors will be able to see all three of them enjoying the main pool now. We have announced her name today – Bonita which is Portuguese for beautiful, but we call her Bonnie, as she is a bonny lass – in true Yorkshire style! ”
Alexandra, Orimar and Bonita are also important Ambassadors for their species.
Donations to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation from park visitors and supporters have been instrumental in establishing a key project in the Cantao region of Brazil to support and protect the species to save them from the brink of extinction.
Conservation work such as this has helped the species survive and slowly rebuild populations to around 5,000 although Giant Otters remain at risk.
“Sadly, now they're in trouble again so the Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation (YWPF) supports a conservation initiative which patrols that big reserve to protect against poachers and illegal fishing and at the same time conducts a lot of research to find out more about these amazing animals," said YWPF Trustee Cheryl Williams.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park is open daily throughout the half term week with special late opening to 7.30pm. Due to current restrictions, entry is by advance booking only www.yorkshirewildlifepark.com .