Six Asian small-clawed otters have been born at Edinburgh Zoo, and recently received their first health check.

Two of the animals, named Barry and Luna, arrived at the zoo in 2020 as part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) and have since had four litters of pups.

Asian small-clawed otters the smallest species of otter in the world and are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The zoo recently welcomed six more of the otters, bringing the total to 14.

Expert vets at the wildlife conservation charity confirmed they are five boys and one girl.

The Herald: One of the otters receives a health checkOne of the otters receives a health check (Image: Royal Zoological Society of Scotland)

At just nine weeks old, the pups are still dependent on their mother and are spending most of their time in their underground holts, the zoo said.

Lucky visitors might be able to see them exploring their enclosure and learning more about their surroundings in the coming weeks.

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Alison MacLean, carnivore team leader at Edinburgh Zoo said, “We are delighted to welcome our newest additions, who are already proving to be very feisty. Barry and Luna arrived at the zoo in 2020 and have previously shown themselves to be very attentive parents.

"They can often be seen swimming and diving with their older pups in the stream in their enclosure.

“With the addition of the new arrivals, we now have 14 Asian small-clawed otters here at the zoo. The species live in family groups consisting of a mum and dad then their older offspring who help to raise the younger ones.”

The Herald:

The Asian small-clawed otter naturally lives in a range from parts of India to Southeast Asia including the islands of Sumatra, Java, Borneo and Palawan.

It lives in freshwater wetlands such as swamps, slow-flowing rivers and rice fields and can also be found in estuaries, coastal lagoons and tidal pools.

They feed largely on crustaceans and fish, but will also eat snakes, frogs, insects, and small rodents in the wild.

They face threats due to loss of habitat, poaching for their fur and pollution of water due to pesticides.