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Otters dose up on Omega-3s

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Humans aren't the only animals to benefit from healthy omega-3s. Willowbank Wildlife Reserve's otters do too.

A group of five otters at the Canterbury Reserve have been lapping up all the goodness of healthy long chain omega-3 oils after receiving a shipment of baby salmon this week.

Think improved joint mobility, heart health and glowing skin and hair - just what a fashionable otter desires.

Marlborough-based New Zealand King Salmon has donated 500kg of baby salmon (smolt) to the reserve to give the otters a healthy and tasty alternative to their everyday diet.

Head of 'Wild NZ' at the Reserve is Genevieve Sinnott and she says the company has frequently donated salmon smolt to the reserve - and it's a favourite of the otters.

"Salmon smolt is always a treat for our little furry friends. Their diet is usually herring and pilchard so they jump at the chance for the variety of a more tasty fish. And of course the otter-keepers are happy to know their charges are dosing up on healthy Omega-3s at the same time," says Genevieve.

NZ King Salmon has in the past donated a similar amount of its baby salmon to the reserve and in gratitude Willowbank is putting up a small plaque in the otter enclosure thanking the company for its support.

The Otters at Willowbank are Asian Small-Clawed. They are one of the smallest otter breeds in the world, rarely weighing more than 5kg - Willowbank's weigh in at around 3.5kg.

They are gregarious and are often found in groups of up to 15 individuals. The Willowbank otters have unusual "hand-like" front paws that have greater sensitivity and less webbing than other otter species, because they forage for their prey of crustaceans, molluscs and fish.

Their home habitats are the mangrove swamps and freshwater wetlands of Bangladesh, India, China, Malaya, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam where their official status is 'vulnerable'.

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