--  Pikes Peak Region Service Providers Were Invaluable  --

--  OTTER HOTLINE / 648-7348  --

March 30, 2010 – Cheyenne Mountain Zoo extends thanks and gratitude to a variety of area service providers that answered the call for help from the Zoo this past weekend. Units from the Broadmoor Hotel Maintenance Department, Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU), Broadmoor Fire and Rescue and the Heavy Rescue unit from Colorado Springs Fire Department. These groups were all instrumental in searching a 600 foot long culvert on the Broadmoor Hotel Golf Course; a location where the Zoo had a confirmed sighting of their missing North American river otter, Kitchi.

Specifically, the Zoo would like to thank the following:

Broadmoor Hotel
Director of Golf Course Maintenance Fred Dickman
Hotel Security Officer Randy Babas

Colorado Springs Utilities / Waste Water Division
            Operations Supervisor Nick Verdi
            Bill Niemiec
            Chuck Lonsford
            Chris Jones

Broadmoor Fire and Rescue
            Noel Perran
            Michael Garman

Colorado Springs Fire Department / Heavy Rescue Unit
            Battalion Chief Larry Schwarz and Unit Crew


CMZoo Thanks Search Volunteers

Thanks go to the Broadmoor Hotel for permission to search for the otter on the hotel’s Golf Course and for their help in the confirmed spotting of Kitchi in a golf course culvert. After several attempts at coaxing the otter out of the culvert, Colorado Springs Utilities was called to assist in exploring the culvert for the runaway. CSU brought their closed circuit camera system with wheeled robot vehicle to examine the 600 foot span of culvert. This unit is used by CSU to locate cracks, leaks and the like in the city’s underground utilities’ system. With this system, the Zoo was able to confirm another sighting of the wayward otter in the underground culvert, but debris prevented the camera robot from herding the otter to the far end of the culvert where the Zoo had a safe animal trap ready to collect him.

The Zoo then contacted Broadmoor Fire and Rescue, who in turn contacted the CSFD Heavy Rescue Unit to ready themselves to enter the culvert for a hand rescue. While preparations were made above ground for the rescue attempt, the otter slid through cracks in the aging culvert and slipped away from the area. A subsequent check of the long corrugated tube by the closed circuit camera showed no sign of the otter in the culvert.

Though the work of all of these individuals did not end the search for the missing otter, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo thanks them for the long hours in cold temperatures to attempt this rescue. The partnership of these groups with the Zoo is invaluable and shows the goodwill promoted between them and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

Missing Otter Update

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s search for the missing North American river otter continues Tuesday with the Zoo continuing to follow up on tips phoned in to the Otter Hotline. 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 the OTTER HOTLINE number at 648-7348 to make your report. Time of day and direction the otter was traveling in and/or type of evidence left behind is of importance in making the report to the Zoo. If the reporting person is able to take still photos or video of the otter, that will definitely help in the search.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo wants to assure the community that their pets and family members are safe if they do not provoke or corner the animal, but fish in water features, ponds and lakes are at risk.

At this point in the search it is of utmost importance that the community assist in the search for the lost otter.

Again, the Zoo’s OTTER HOTLINE number is 648-7348.