January 31, 2017 1:58 pm
Updated: January 31, 2017 2:53 pm

Ecomuseum Zoo welcomes back crowd-pleasing river otter with new exhibit

River Otter Zoo Ecomuseum
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The Ecomuseum’s favorite playful jokers, the river otters will be making their long-awaited return after a two-year absence. The outdoor Montreal zoo is holding its grand opening of the new privately funded, $1.4-million river otter habitat today.

The otters will have 6,000 square feet to play around in their new home.

The Ecomuseum says it is the widest river otter habitat in Canada.

Otters at Montreal\’s Ecomuseum.

Victoria DeMartigny

This new exhibit captures all the natural aspects of the Quebec ecosystem that the otters live in, with tall rocks and a new 250,000 litre pool of water that is 55 times larger than the previous enclosure.

The basin includes a sandy beach and a little stream for the otters to slip and slide into the bigger pool.

The river otters are great teachers because, “they are so active and are known to interact with the guests,” said David Rodrigue, the executive director of the Ecomuseum.

Rodrigue says the new exhibit is an interactive learning tool.

“It’s a great way for kids to actively learn, and it gets them moving around.”

The river otter habitat has two underwater porthole viewing windows and an interactive addition in a tight underwater glass tunnel.

It also has three observation stations around the enclosure.

The tunnel allows guests to get, an up-close and personal look at the dynamic and lively torpedo shaped semi- aquatic marine mammal as they glide through the water.

“The tunnel is meant for the children but adults will surely try to squeeze in,” Rodrigue said. “I know for a fact that the (Ecomuseum) team here, has already done it.”

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The children will have a chance to mimic the river otters scaling the rocks, with a newly added rock climbing wall.

The Encomuseum began construction on the new habitat last year, before they even got conformation they were receiving river otters, according to Rodrigue.

It was a gamble they were willing to make, according to Rougriue. The Ecomuseum previous river otters died in 2014.

The current trio of otters, which includes two males and one female, don’t have names yet.

Rodrigue says the Ecomuseum will open the naming process to the public soon.

The Ecomuseum Zoo is the only outdoor zoo on the island of Montreal. The Island Zoo features animal species exclusively from Quebec and claims to house them in a, cozy and Natural setting.

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