PORTLAND The Oregon Zoo is about to name its 2014 Zoo Mother of the Year, and staff are asking for the public s help in choosing the deserving animal parent.
The finalists include a California condor, a North American river otter, an African lion and an Asian Elephant.
We have four very strong candidates this year, said zoo director Kim Smith. Some have overcome tremendous adversity, others have been exceptionally nurturing.
The contenders include some well-known names at the Oregon Zoo. Tilly, the river otter who took home the top honor last year, is again in the running after giving birth to her second pup on Nov. 8.
Tilly has stiff competition from one of the zoo s most popular animals, Asian elephant Rose-Tu. After 22 months of pregnancy. Rose-Tu delivered 300-pound baby Lily in November to great public excitement.
Zoo elephant curator Bob Lee said if Rose-Tu wins, the award would also honor other female elephants that have helped raise precocious Lily.
The finalist pool also includes 15-year-old Timocho, a California condor that came to the zoo after being hit in the face by shotgun pellets. Although she sustained injuries to her eyes, tongue and bones around her mouth, she was nursed back to health and has since birthed five chicks, including her most recent baby on April 11.
Rounding out the pool of contenders is Neka, a 6-year-old African lion who gave birth to three kittens in September. Keepers say she s been a nurturing mother who helped tiny Kamali recuperate from early health issues.
To cast your vote for the zoo s mom of the year, visit www.oregonzoo.org. Votes will be accepted through Thursday, May 8.
The Oregon Zoo will announce its 2014 Mother of the Year on May 9.