CALGARY — Two Calgary Zoo staff members have been disciplined after an investigation found an otter died after becoming entangled in a pair of pants that had been dropped in its enclosure.
Logan, a 12-year-old North American river otter, was seen struggling to swim in the Canadian Wilds habitat.
A zookeeper jumped in to aid the distressed animal but despite best attempts, it died.
An autopsy revealed the beloved river otter drowned last week after becoming tangled in the trousers and an internal review has revealed an “unauthorized enrichment item” was given to the otters by a zookeeper.
“This error is simply unacceptable,” says Colleen Baird, Calgary Zoo General Curator. “Our animal care protocols are among the most stringent in the industry and must be followed.
Three otters — 1-year-old Finnegan, 12-year-old Charlotte and 16-year-old male Callebaut — remain in the zoo’s Canadian Wilds section.
Baird told local media that introducing “enrichment items” that reflect items the animals might come across in the wild is fairly common. However, she reiterated that this particular instance was a breach of the zoo protocols and the staff members have been reprimanded.
Tragically, this is not the first time animals at Calgary Zoo have died in abnormal circumstances. In 2013, Fiona, a Gentoo penguin, died in “a freak accident” when she swallowed a stick. Meanwhile, 41 of 43 stingrays in a new exhibit suffocated due to a lack of oxygen in the water in 2008. And in 1999, Misty the polar bear died after being prescribed Prozac to improve her erratic behavior.
Baird added: “We will be reinforcing our protocols with every member of our Animal Care staff to prevent an incident like this from ever happening again.”