Endangered Giant Otter Moves to a Different Country, All in the Name of Love

Zoo officials say they have found the perfect genetic match for Diego Junior, a giant otter whose species is critically endangered.

That's one small step for man, one giant leap for otter-kind.

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Diego Junior, a rare South American giant otter, was relocated to a zoo in England from a facility in France, all in the pursuit of love.

As a part of an initiative to help repopulate the species, 3-year-old Diego Junior from Bioparc Zoo de Doué-la-Fontaine was transported to Chester Zoo after officials deemed him the perfect match for female giant otter, Icana.

“Diego Junior has settled in very, very quickly and he and Icana have already hit it off,” Tim Rowlands, the curator of mammals, said in a statement.

There are less than 5,000 giant otters left remaining in the wild, according to the zoo, making them critically endangered in their native South America.

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Some even suspect the species is already extinct in Uruguay and Argentina.

“Not only do we hope they will breed here — helping boost the ever dwindling population of giant otters — we hope that by working closely with the species here we’ll learn new information about the animals,” Rowlands said.

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