Bronx Zoo Welcomes A Baby Otter And Rare Fruit Bats

The Bronx Zoo will be debuting a brand new baby otter and a rare species of fruit bats this spring.

Earlier this week, the zoo announced that they would be welcoming an Asian small-clawed otter pup and a group of Rodrigues fruit bats, according to NBC New York. The fruit bats will be sharing their new home with the Matschie's tree kangaroos exhibit, states a press release from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

The two rare creatures were inducted into the zoo's Jungle World exhibition. Both species are "threatened by habitat loss," reports NBC New York.

The Asian small-clawed otters have long bodies and webbed feet that allow them to zoom through vast areas of water, explains a WCS press release. The otters also have agile hands, which permit them to find food for consumption. Their dense fur is not only waterproof, but adjusts to different temperatures. The Asian small-clawed otters originate from Southeast Asia, specifically residing in India, Taiwan, the Philippines, and pockets of southern China. Though the creatures call those places home, over time, their habitats have suffered from pollution, hunting, and general destruction, according to the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park.

The Rodrigues fruit bats, also known as the "flying fox," originally come from an an island in the western Indian Ocean called Rodrigues, explains the Durell Wildlife Conservation Trusts' website. The flying foxes are suffering from "the threat of deforestation," writes Fox 5 News. The WCS explained in a press release that the International Congress for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has categorized the animal as "critically endangered."

Still, the Asian small-claw otters and the Rodrigues fruit bats are not only the newest additions to the Bronx Zoo. According to a report done by PBS Newshour, the facility welcomed a trio of baby lemurs.

The three baby lemur pups include one with a brown collar and two that are ring tailed. Both species were born in late March, according to the WCS. The only place in the world where lemurs can be found in the wild are Madagascar. While the brown collared lemurs reside in the tropical forests, in the southeastern portion of the island, the ring tailed creatures are in the south and southwestern areas in bushes and the forrest, says the WCS. Just like Asian small-claw otters and the Rodrigues fruit bats, the lemurs are also victims of endangerment. Back in their native homeland, their habitats have been undergoing destruction from humans' risky environmental behavior within the region. In a press release for the WCS, the organization explains how the practice of slash-and-burn agriculture and the immense amount of charcoal production in the area have led to the endangerment of the species.

Despite all the damage that has been taking place in our environment, the WCS and Bronx Zoo have been quite instrumental in wildlife preservation. In fact, the zoo will be holding their annual Run for the Wild 5k Saturday, April 30, in partnership with the WCS. As part of the event, zoo patrons will choose an endangered animal species to not only run for, but to campaign and fundraise for, as a way to save their chosen animal's natural habitat.

[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]