Help Name the Otter Pups

The Little Rock Zoo and Keep Arkansas Beautiful invites the public to vote in the naming contest from now until May 13, 2021.

Vote today:

About the Little Rock Zoo and Keep Arkansas Beautiful Partnership and Birth of Otter Pups

The Little Rock Zoo and Keep Arkansas Beautiful (KAB) announced on Tuesday, April 13, the like-minded organizations will continue their partnership. Along with their partnership announcement, the Zoo also happily announced the birth of two North American River Otters (a male and female). Born to mom Carly and father, Ray in February, the otter pups are a welcome addition to the Zoo family.

Both organizations are concerned with the conservation and protection of the state’s natural resources- including its animals and the environment. Not only do the two organizations have conservation and care of the earth in common, but also a special affinity for otters. In fact, the mascot of Keep Arkansas Beautiful is Otto the Otter was on hand to help welcome the newborns and announce a naming contest.

To celebrate of the newest additions, the organizations are hosting a naming contest. Zoo staff have selected three (3) names for each pup from which to choose. The public is invited to vote by online poll available at the Zoo’s website, the Zoo’s Facebook page, and KAB’s website. The voting will end Thursday, May 13, 2021, at noon. Choices for the male are the following: 1) Ron (a Harry Potter reference), 2) RJ (Ray Junior, after his dad) and, 3) Jepsen (after singer Carly Rae Jepsen, and in honor of his parents). The choices for the femalie are the following: 1) Ginny (a Harry Potter reference), Sunshine (“Ray of”, in honor of her dad), and 3) Scout.

The birth of the pups comes as a recommendation of the American Species Survival Plan ® Program, specifically the North American River Otter Program (NARO), which is known as SSP. The SSP Program, developed in 1981 by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), helps to ensure the survival of select species in zoos and aquariums, which are either threatened or endangered in the wild. Native to the North American continent, the North American River Otter is listed as a least-concern species, meaning one that has been labeled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as not being a focus of species conservation. However, there are major threats to their conservation, mainly habitat degradation and pollution

"Keep Arkansas Beautiful and our own Otto the Otter would like to congratulate the Little Rock Zoo on the birth of two beautiful otter pups," said Mark Camp, KAB executive director. "The Little Rock Zoo is a valued partner and we are excited to be part of the naming contest for the pups."

“In addition to partnering with us to create the Otto & Friends: The Great Arkansas Mystery Coloring & Activity Book, Keep Arkansas Beautiful also sponsored new artwork and signage to highlight trash and recycling receptacles at the Zoo,” noted Susan Altrui, Little Rock Zoo Director. “With all of this fun collaboration, we found it only fitting to include them in the celebration of these brand new otter pups,” Altrui added.

With a mission to inspire and educate individuals to improve their communities by preventing litter, promoting recycling and keeping Arkansas beautiful, the KAB works hard to make sure Arkansans value the natural beauty of our state. The Little Rock Zoo’s mission of inspiring people to conserve and value our natural world is a seamless fit with that of KAB to come together to meet common goals. Since the fall of 2019, the two organizations have met to identify ways that could work together.

The Little Rock Zoo and Keep Arkansas Beautiful invite the public to vote in the naming contest from now until May 13, 2021. Find the contest link at

About the Zoo

The Little Rock Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information, visit

About Keep Arkansas Beautiful

The Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB), consisting of a professional staff of three and a nine-member advisory board appointed by the governor, is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. KAB is a certified state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful Inc. KAB inspires and educates individuals to reduce litter, recycle and keep Arkansas beautiful. KAB is funded by 1% of the eighth-cent Conservation Tax. For more information, visit Stay in the know by following Keep Arkansas Beautiful on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and texting VOLUNTEER to 484848.

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