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Shedd Aquarium reveals the names of two new otters

The Shedd Aquarium has two new furry faces to officially introduce. Chicago, meet Willow and Suri.

After taking two female otter pups from California, tentatively named Otter 926 and Otter 929 after their consumption numbers, the aquarium appealed to the public for help with the name one of them. And there are results.

After more than 9,000 votes were cast in an online poll, Otter 929 is now officially named Willow, after Willow Creek Picnic Area and Beach in Monterey County, California, according to a news release from the aquarium. The animal care team named Otter 926 Suri after Big Sur, on California’s mountainous Central Coast.

Willow and Suri were found alone on the California coast, each 2 weeks old, with no mother or adult around. They were rescued by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and arrived in Chicago on October 11.

The aquarium announced their new names this week, sharing a video on Facebook of the two otters swimming in a small pool, one kicking a mini basketball with its nose and the other holding green diving rings while floating on its back. Willow and Suri are gradually getting used to their new habitat, the aquarium wrote in a statement.

Willow and Suri remain at the Abbott Oceanarium in Shed along with four other otters — Luna, Watson, Cooper and Killak, a 5-month-old male who arrived Oct. 25 from Alaska after being found too young to be on his own.

Visitors to the Shedd can spot Willow and Suri by their dark fur and small size, each weighing about 30 pounds. Both look quite similar, but their whiskers are different, the aquarium said. The Suri are shorter and whiter, while the Willows are slightly longer and golden. Suri is also adventurous and active, while Willow tends to be more reserved.

The otters will continue to be reared at the Shedd and trained to dive, forage and carry their young as part of a new program where female otters will serve as surrogate mothers. Once they are old enough, Willow and Suri will move to one of Shedd’s partner facilities to mother the orphaned otters.



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