March 26, 2010 –Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is searching for a North American river otter that breached secondary fencing at the Zoo on Thursday and is thought to be in the Broadmoor area of Colorado Springs. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo wants to assure residents adjacent to the Zoo that their pets and family members are safe, but koi or other ornamental fish in decorative ponds are at risk. North American river otters are indigenous to Colorado, so the current spring weather in the area should be of no concern to the 25-pound aquatic mammal.

Animal department staff at the Zoo discovered on Thursday morning that a failed crimp in the otter exhibit’s mesh covering gave all four Zoo otters the opportunity to exit their exhibit space. Two of the otters were discovered within minutes at the grizzly pond, directly above the otter exhibit in the Rocky Mountain Wild complex. A third otter was recovered by vet and animal staff within the Zoo’s secondary containment fence about an hour later. The exhibit’s fourth otter breached the Zoo’s perimeter fence and was sighted late Thursday afternoon in the Broadmoor area. The three otters at the Zoo are now resting comfortably off-exhibit after their spring adventure.

Zoo staff members have been combing the area adjacent to the Zoo, searching for the river otter, described as nearly four feet long, from nose to tip of tail, dark brown in color with a nearly white muzzle. The 25-pound otter should poise no threat to residents if they do not provoke the animal, but could be endangering residents’ koi and ornamental fish. The Zoo asks everyone in the area to check their ponds and water features on their property for evidence of the otter, especially if the ponds hold fish. This evidence includes dead fish, fish remains and tracks from the otter. If anyone spots the otter or observes evidence that the otter has been in your area, the Zoo asks that you do not approach the animal, but call a Zoo animal manager at 459-0524 or 801-634-1125 to make your report. Time of day and direction the otter was traveling in and/or type of evidence is of importance in making the report to the Zoo.