Swan White

Press Release

Media Contact:
Melissa Abernathy, Communications Manager
804-358-7166, ext. 315

February 15, 2024

A New Otter Is Joining Louis in The Robins Nature Center – Help Maymont Select Her Name


Richmond, Virginia – Move over, Louis the otter, it’s time to share the spotlight at The Robins Nature Center at Maymont. A new otter is preparing to make a debut in March, and Maymont is asking for the public’s help in selecting her name.

The three-year-old female otter arrived shortly after Thanksgiving and has been acclimating to her new environment behind the scenes at The Robins Nature Center with the help of Maymont’s aquarists and zoology staff. After a month-long health quarantine, she and Louis have been gradually getting acquainted in adjacent spaces following a disciplined introduction protocol. On weekdays when The Robins Nature Center is quiet, she and Louis have been taking turns in the outdoor pool area of the otter habitat where they can swim and sun themselves on rocks.

“We are delighted to provide a forever home to this rescued otter in the habitat at Maymont,” said Parke Richeson, Maymont President and CEO. “Otters are an important species in a healthy James River ecosystem, and they help engage our guests in learning more about the environment.”

“Like Louis, this young otter comes from Louisiana, where she had been determined by local authorities to be a nuisance predator to crawfish harvesters,” said Joe Neel, Maymont Senior Manager of Zoology. “We are happy to give her a second chance at a long and healthy life here at Maymont. River otters (Lontra canadensis) have made a comeback in the past decade after a long absence from the James River Park System thanks to improved water quality, but they can be difficult to spot in the wild.”

The new otter is expected to make her first public appearance in March, based on her progress in adjusting to her new home. In the interim, Maymont supporters can submit suggestions for her name when they sign up to Adopt an Animal on Maymont’s website. The top three names will be published in a poll on Maymont’s Facebook and Instagram pages starting March 1 to March 8, where the public can vote on their favorite. Her new name will be revealed the weekend of March 15, when she will be on view for a few hours a day in The Robins Nature Center (Fridays – Sundays, 10 am – 5 pm; admission is $8 for adults, $6 for children ages 3-16; free for Maymont members and Museums for All participants).

About Maymont

Maymont is a well-preserved 100-acre historic estate overlooking the James River that was given to the public by James and Sallie Dooley, who lived there from 1893 to 1925. Today, Maymont is a welcoming community gathering place, with many unique experiences for all to enjoy, including the historic Maymont Mansion, The Robins Nature Center, an arboretum, formal gardens, and habitats for native Virginia wildlife and farm animals. Consistently ranked one of Central Virginia’s top attractions by travelers and locals alike, Maymont serves over 700,000 guests annually, with free admission to the grounds, plus guided and self-guided tours, seasonal events, programs and rental spaces. Since 1975, Maymont has been maintained and operated by the nonprofit Maymont Foundation, committed to creating programs and experiences that delight, educate and inspire its guests.

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Note to editors: Photos are available upon request to mabernathy@maymont.org.