North American river otter at Minot zoo dies

Submitted Photo Holly, a 9-year-old North American river otter at Minot’s Roosevelt Park Zoo, has died. The otters have an average life span in the wild of about 9-13 years. The zoo’s other otter, Loki, is a 6-year-old male otter.

Roosevelt Park Zoo’s 9-year-old otter, Holly, has died.

Zoo officials said in a news release the otter, one of two at the zoo, died on Labor Day. Keeper staff noticed behavior that was unusual for Holly and contacted executive staff including veterinarian Dr. Logan Wood.

“Saying goodbye becomes even more difficult when we are not able to pinpoint a reason for her death,” the information said. “Holly seemed distressed and out of character before a full diagnostic workup in which she revealed no evidence of systemic disease. She went into cardiac arrest and passed away during the veterinary exam despite resuscitation (CPR) attempts. A necropsy did not reveal any further details. As is common practice, tissue and blood samples were sent to the NDSU lab where some possible diseases were ruled out, but they too were not able to identify a cause. Dr. Wood is working with the state veterinarian office to test for less common diseases.”

North American river otters are common in the wild especially through Canada, the upper northwest and the Atlantic coast, according to zoo information. They have an average lifespan in the wild of about 9-13 years. Their adaptations for water and cold climates make them excellent education ambassadors at the Minot zoo. Their intelligent and playful nature often make otters a favorite among guests. Otters are social in nature.

Considerations are being made for Loki, the zoo’s 6-year-old male. For now, the zoo’s keepers are keeping him company with increased enrichment, training and interaction until a best course of action is decided.


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