In the wild Asian short-clawed otters face increasing threats to their survival.

Wetlands where they live are being taken over by us humans and some otters are hunted down for their skins and organs which are used in traditional Chinese medicines.

As their name suggests these otters have short but very flexible, sensitive claws, useful for digging, climbing and also for grabbing and holding on to prey.

They mainly eat crabs, other water creatures and fish. They are the smallest of all otters and in the wild live in small groups across Asia from India and Nepal to the Philippines, Indonesia, China, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

But their numbers are going down and they are now listed as one of the world's most Vulnerable species. That's why it's so important to support conservation projects to safeguard the future of this important species.

The pups born here (latest pup Daley, born in May 2012 was named after our Olympic hero) have joined our other otters listed on the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme, a carefully managed scheme overseeing the breeding of zoo animals in different countries.

We've also helped fund research and conservation projects in Cheshire to monitor and safeguard native otter populations which are distant relations of the Asian short-clawed species.

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Interesting facts

IUCN Status: Vulnerable

Where they live: Across Asia from India to the Philippines and China.

Habitat: Wetlands near freshwater swamps and mangroves

Size: 45-61cm length

Weight: 1-5kg

Threats: Habitat loss due to agricultural and urban development; diminished supply of natural prey which they need for food.

Scientific name: Aonyx cinerea