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Zoo asks for help to locate otter

Zoo asks for help to locate otter

One of Auckland Zoo’s otters has managed to get out of its enclosure and the Zoo grounds.

The last sighting of the otter was in Stanley Point Rd, Devonport, early yesterday evening. Zoo staff immediately went to the area, where they received fantastic assistance from several Devonport locals. Measures were put in place to try and recapture the animal, but this morning these have proved to have been unsuccessful.

The four-year-old female, Jin, is not dangerous and will not approach people, but staff say it is important members of the public do not try and chase or capture her themselves. This will just cause her to run further. If people do sight her, they should call the main Zoo line (360 3800). If it is after hours, people should call 027 291 9773. (Jin is an Asiatic short-clawed otter, dark brown in colour, the size of a small cat, with a pale belly, and a long fat tail that tapers off towards its end, and approximately 4 – 5kg in weight).

“Jin has obviously been carried from the Meola Creek area on the outgoing tide. While otters are good swimmers, we’re absolutely stunned at the distance she has travelled,” says Auckland Zoo curator, Maria Finnigan. If anyone does sight her in an area that can be closed off (such as a fenced backyard or basement garage), we would ask that people do so immediately, and then call us.”

Three female otters were able to get out of their enclosure last Tuesday afternoon, due to a newly repaired nest box not being properly secured to the wall of the otter enclosure. While two of the three otters were safely back in their enclosure by the following (Wednesday) morning, the third otter, Jin, was still at large within the Zoo grounds. She subsequently was sighted out of the Zoo in the Meola/Garnet Roads area.

Extensive searches were undertaken by zookeepers. Tape recordings of otter vocalisations were even used to try and help lure her back, and yesterday morning keepers used a tracker dog to search the Meola Creek, Jagger’s Bush and surrounding streets of the Zoo.

“The Zoo takes any incident of this nature extremely seriously and has thoroughly investigated why it occurred, and kept MAF informed of recapture plans on a daily basis,” says Auckland Zoo curator, Maria Finnigan. “Measures have been put in place to ensure an incident like this doesn’t happen again.”

“Jin is clearly in a state of panic, which is why she is remaining on the move, and we’re naturally extremely concerned for her welfare, but would remind people that she is not dangerous,” says senior carnivore keeper, Trent Barclay.


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