Tyne & Wear

Otter pups born at Washington Wetland centre

New born otters Image copyright WWT
Image caption The baby otters are "especially good genetically", Washington Wetland Centre said

Four Asian short-clawed otters have been born at a centre conserving the vulnerable species.

It is the second litter born to adults Mimi and Musa at Washington Wetland Centre.

The otter family are on a global register, known as a studbook, aimed at conserving healthy populations of the animals in captivity.

Studbook keeper Jason Palmer said maintaining "genetically healthy populations" was "vitally important".

"With organisations such as WWT and other zoos breeding and transferring responsibly, it will start to make a big difference to the captive well-being of all Asian short-clawed otters," he said.

Image copyright WWT
Image caption Mimi and Musa had Ruby in May 2015

Washington Wetland Centre manager Gill Pipes said the family of otters were "especially good genetically, which is great news for the species".

"It means they can play a key role in maintaining a healthy population," she said.

Short-clawed otters are the smallest otter species and are threatened by hunting and the deforestation of their natural habitat.

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