She left the zoo on Wednesday with a mission: "to repopulate its natural environment"!

Arirahna, always housed at the Doué-la-Fontaine biopark (Maine-et-Loire), is the first giant river otter born in France to be reintroduced in Argentina.

Its species,

Pteronura brasiliensis

by its scientific name, is in fact considered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to be "probably extinct" in this South American country.

This carnivore, which can reach “up to 1.8 meters in length”, was visible on the banks of the Paraná River until the middle of the 20th century.

But several factors, such as water contamination or poaching, led to its "gradual disappearance", explains the zoo.

This reintroduction is therefore "a reward for our efforts and our faith in our profession", specifies Pierre Gay, president of Bioparc Conservation.

A European initiative

This reintroduction project will not rest solely on Ariranha's shoulders, since in 2019 a pair of otters already landed in Ibera Park, Argentina, specially designed for the species.

The female was from the Budapest Zoo, while the male otter was from Denmark.

The couple of mammals became "inseparable" and had young, released gradually.

The 8-year-old otter Ariranha will be taken to another tank and is expected to mate with a male from a Swedish zoo.

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