Mama otter beats out elephant, monkey for zoo's mom of the year - KPTV - FOX 12

Mama otter beats out elephant, monkey for zoo's mom of the year award

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A river otter found orphaned near Johnson Creek in 2009 is now the Oregon Zoo's mom of the year.

Tilly gave birth to Mo, named after the Molalla River, on Jan. 28. Mo is the first river otter ever born at the zoo.

Tilly faced serious competition for the annual Mother's Day award, winning an online vote over Asian elephant Rose-Tu and Brooke the DeBrazza's monkey.

Since both Tilly and Mo's father, B.C., were born in the wild, they are considered genetically important for the breeding otter population in North American zoos. Both parents are rescue animals who had a rough start to life.

Tilly was only 4 months old when she was found orphaned. She had been wounded by an animal attack and was seriously malnourished.

Once her health had stabilized, Tilly came to the Oregon Zoo in a transfer facilitated by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, which oversees the species' protection.

The pup's father, B.C., was found orphaned near Star City, AK, also in 2009. He was initially taken in by the Little Rock Zoo, but transferred to Oregon the following year as a companion for Tilly. The two otters hit it off quickly.

Now that the threat from fur trappers has declined, North American river otters are once again relatively abundant in healthy river systems of the Pacific Northwest and the lakes and tributaries that feed them, according to the Oregon Zoo.

Tilly won the mom of the year award with 47 percent of the vote, outpacing Rose-Tu, who gave birth to baby elephant Lily on Nov. 30, 2012, and Brooke, who gave birth to Augustus the baby monkey in March 2013.

The contest had its highest level of participation in recent memory with more than 3,200 votes cast among the three candidates.

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