KURE BEACH, N.C. — The votes are in, and three of the newest Asian small-clawed otter pups at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher officially have names: Gemma, Ren, and Kai.
Members of the community and aquarium visitors placed over 7,000 votes over the span of a week to name the pups that were born on Jan. 31. Any name ideas came from volunteers at the aquarium with the goal of honoring the otter’s natural habitat in Southeast Asia.
Gemma, a female pup, was the first to open her eyes and is the loudest out of the three. Kai is a big, easy-going male pup who likes to nap. Ren is another male pup and the smallest of the trio.
NCAFF, Aquarist, and Lead Otter Keeper, Shannon Anderson, said this inspired thousands of people to get involved with the aquarium, and she hopes their energy for picking out names will also be put towards conservation efforts.
“We are so inspired by the thousands of people who have voted to name these new pups,” Anderson said. “Every moment that we can spend sharing their story is critical to saving this vulnerable species. We hope that the awareness it brings to everyone who voted will turn into individual conservation action.”
(WATCH BELOW: Governor Cooper proposes budget to expand NC state zoo)
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