Meet Olive: Aquarium welcomes new North American river otter

Published 4:18 pm Monday, December 7, 2020

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The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island has welcomed a new otter into the fold.

Olive is a female North American river otter that came into the aquarium’s care from a wildlife rehabber in Scotland County who took her in following an injury.

Olive is currently behind the scenes in an area the aquarium has reserved for new arrivals, which is allowing husbandry staff the ability to continue to treat and observe her. Due to health issues, Olive is not able to be released back to the wild, but her caretakers are monitoring her carefully to determine whether or not she can be introduced to the aquarium’s otter habitat in the Wild Wetlands Gallery.

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“We would love for our guests to get to know Olive, but we have her health and best interest at heart,” says aquarist Kristine Davis. “Since she is an older animal with an injury in her past, we are watching her closely and providing the care she needs. Her comfort and well-being are our priority.”

Olive’s arrival came after careful review by a team of experts including the Roanoke Island husbandry staff, the NC Aquarium’s veterinary team and the North American river otter Species Survival Program, stated a release from the aquarium.

Since she is recently out of the wild and because of her challenges over the past few weeks, Olive’s rest and attentive care are the aquarium’s top priority. Even visits by aquarium staff are limited to only those who are caring for this new otter guest.

If it is determined that Olive won’t be in the public gallery, she will continue to receive top notch care during her continued life at the aquarium, stated the release from the aquarium.

“We care for many animals behind the scenes and their health and well-being is as important to us as any other animal here,” Davis says.

Wild Wetlands is home to Banks and Finn, two male otters whose lively antics delight aquarium guests daily. “It was also the residence of beloved female otter Molly until 2019,” stated the aquarium. “Molly passed away in July of that year following decline in her health and the determination by husbandry and veterinary staff that euthanization was the most humane decision for her.”

The aquarium plans to share updates, photos and videos of Olive as her progress allows.

The NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Pre-reserved tickets and cloth face coverings are required. For more information, visit



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