Oregon Zoo Asks Online Community for Help Naming River Otter Pups

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The Oregon Zoo’s two young river pups are growing up, and now the pair need names.

Two otter pups are seen in an image posted to the Oregon Zoo’s Facebook page.

The zoo announced Wednesday an online community vote to help name the otters born four weeks ago, one male and one female, is live.

“The little ones haven’t opened their eyes yet, but they’re growing fast and getting more mobile,” said Julie Christie, senior keeper for the zoo’s North America section. “They usually don’t travel too far when their eyes are closed. We think it’s time to name them before they really start to roam around.”

And there’s a tradition with the names of river otters at the zoo: they are named after local waterways.

Tilly, the pups’ mother, is named after the Tillamook River, KPTV reported.

Now, zoo keepers have narrowed down potential names, and nicknames, for both of Tilly’s pups.

Here are the three female pup names up for consideration:

  • Abiqua (Abby): a Pudding River tributary originating in the Cascades foothills near Lookout Mountain.
  • Calapooia (Cali): a Willamette tributary that flows generally northwest from its source near Tidbits Mountain.
  • Nehalem (Nellie): a river that flows from the Coast Range down to Nehalem Bay for nearly 120 miles.

And here are three names for the public to choose from for the male pup:

  • Nestucca (Tucker): a forested river near the coast, known for its steelhead and salmon.
  • John Day (J.D.): a Columbia tributary that is undammed along its entire 284 miles — the third-longest free-flowing river in the contiguous U.S.
  • Wallooskee (Skeeter): a 10-mile tributary of the Youngs River in northwest Oregon.