Video: A wedding ring still on her finger, Rebecca Adlington opens Yorkshire otter sanctuary
Still wearing a wedding ring, the Mansfield-born double gold medallist helped feed the animals and posed for pictures with children.
She and her husband, Harry Needs, said last month that they were ending their 18-month marriage. Their daughter, Summer, was born last June.
The new otter reserve is home to Mora and Alexandra, a pair of animals brought to Yorkshire from Germany.
Giant otters are native to South America but their population has been reduced by pollution and overfishing. They are also extensively hunted for their soft fur, and fewer than 5,000 are left in the wild.
Ms Adlington, whose 200m personal freestyle best at just under two minutes is four times slower than a giant otter, said: “It was great to see Mora and Alexandra close up and to get to feed them. I really hope the initiative helps save this wonderful species.”
The new 2835 sq m reserve is designed to resemble the animals’ wild river habitat, with sand and gravel banks around the water’s edge, and a house with two heated pools.