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PORTLAND -- The Oregon Zoo will honor one of its animals with a Mother of the Year award next week, and the three finalists were announced Thursday.

This year s finalists are a De Brazza s monkey named Brooke, a North American river otter named Tilly and an Asian elephant named Rose-Tu, said spokesman Hova Najarian.

He offered a quick argument in each animal's case:

  • Brooke has been keeping her 2-month-old so close that the zoo s animal-care staff only recently determined the baby s gender.
  • Tilly is a first-time mom, but keepers say she s been doing all the right things for her 3-month-old pup, Mo.
  • Rose-Tu required full-time help with early binding after her first calf, Samudra, was born. But with new calf Lilly, keepers say her maternal nature took over right away.

These moms all represent species whose natural habitats are threatened, and they ve each done a lot to inspire zoo visitors, said zoo director Kim Smith.

Online votes will be accepted through Thursday, May 9, at noon. The winner will be announced the following morning.

Click here to vote

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