Yorkshire Wildlife Park is celebrating the arrival of new girlfriend for an endangered smooth coat otter

Lonely Lukha the otter has found love again with a new companion five months after his partner passed away.

The smooth coat otter has a new lease of life after three-year-old Annie arrived at the award-winning Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

Lukha, eight, and Annie met nose to nose in the otter house as they were slowly introduced to each other under close supervision. The couple are now almost inseparable as they roam and enjoy the park’s Himalayan Pass enclosure at the 150-acre park, at Auckley, near Doncaster.

“It has been great seeing how well Lukha and Annie are getting along, and it is lovely that Lukha has a female companion again,” said Josh Luxton, deputy team leader of aquatics section. “Lukha has always been very laid back and chilled so we always knew he would adjust very quickly to having a new room-mate.

“He has been on his own since May so it has been amazing to see Lukha following Annie everywhere. I’m really proud of how hard our team worked introducing them."

Annie came from Wingham Wildlife Park, in Kent, last Friday and is sister and litter-mate of the park’s previous female smooth coat otter, Mayan, who passed away in May. The move was recommended by the European Breeding Programme. 

Smooth coat otters, who have super soft short velvety fur and tiny webbed feet, are a vulnerable species found in the Himalayan River valleys. They are comfortable in water and on land, often travelling long distances to find a suitable habitat.

The species is under threat from pollution of their wetlands homes and poaching for the illegal wildlife trade.

The park, which is the UK’s No. 1 wildlife walkthrough adventure, offers visitors a mesmerising experience, coming almost face to face with some of the world’s most beautiful and rare animals, including Polar Bears, Amur Leopards and Tigers, Giraffes, Lions, Lemurs and Black Rhino.