“Brookfield Zoo Mourns Loss of River Otter Pup” by S.M. O’Connor

The birth of a baby animal at a zoo is a causes for celebration because not only does it energize staff members caring for the species in question, but reporters are happy to relay the news to the public, and then parents have an additional reason to bring children to that zoo, and each birth makes an impact on the breeding program coordinated by zoos across the United States of America to assure the survival of a species.  Unfortunately, the Chicago Zoological Society (C.Z.S.) announced on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 the loss of its male North American river otter pup that had been born at the Brookfield Zoo on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.  The C.Z.S. stated, “Over the past weekend, the young pup’s health declined significantly impacting his well-being, and leading animal care and veterinary staff to make the difficult decision to humanely euthanize him.  Staff had been hand-rearing the young pup and giving round-the-clock care when it was determined that his mother was not able to provide him with the proper nourishment he needed.”

“This was an enormously hard decision to make, but to prevent the otter from any further suffering, we determined this was the only viable course of action,” stated Bill Zeigler, Senior Vice President of Animal Programs for the C.Z.S.

This was the second successful birth for this species at the Brookfield Zoo.  In 2017, the pup’s parents, Charlotte and Ben, had their first litter, a male and a female.  Those pups born two years ago are at other zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (A.Z.A.) on breeding loans based on recommendations made by the A.Z.A. North American River Otter Species Survival Plan, which is a cooperative population management and conservation program for North American river otters.

The C.Z.S. explained, “The program manages the breeding of otters in zoos to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable.  According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the otter population in Illinois was once in jeopardy with an estimate of fewer than 100 individuals in the late 1980s.  Thanks to a very successful recovery program that included relocating otters from Louisiana to southern Illinois as well as expanding populations in neighboring states, otters are now common and found in every county in the state.”

Shortly after this new pup was born on February 26th, animal care and veterinary staff determined that Charlotte was unable to provide him with the nourishment he required.  Due to the amount of time he spent separated from her, on April 11th the C.Z.S. announced he would not be reunited with her, lest she reject him.  At the time, the C.Z.S. was working with the A.Z.A. North American River Otter S.S.P. to relocate the otter to another A.Z.A.-accredited institution that had otters about the same age, which would have given him the best opportunity for socialization and companionship.

3a316744-76a8-4e3f-8148-1674722598d0Figure 1 Credit Chicago Zoological Society: Caption: Michelle Soszynski, a senior animal care specialist at Brookfield Zoo’s Animal Hospital, cares for a male North American river otter, pictured here on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, that was born at the zoo on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.

fd43a535-bf45-4cb3-a7e9-1b31ecd1a2f5.jpgFigure 2 Credit Chicago Zoological Society: Caption: Michelle Soszynski, a senior animal care specialist at Brookfield Zoo’s Animal Hospital, cares for a male North American river otter, pictured here on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, that was born at the zoo on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.

6d487a37-643b-4f45-9dc4-c2eff4d59641Figure 3 Credit Chicago Zoological Society: Caption: A male North American river otter, pictured on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, that was born at the Brookfield Zoo on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.

6feb9c16-f0c0-4235-aac0-e4454f0f46aeFigure 4 Credit Chicago Zoological Society: Caption:  A male North American river otter, pictured here on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, that was born at the Brookfield Zoo on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.

325aafda-f47d-4692-9fd2-f70a891c1dc6Figure 5 Credit Chicago Zoological Society: Caption: A male North American river otter, pictured on Tuesday, April 9, 2019,  was born at the Brookfield Zoo on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.

4089dfb1-5c4c-46aa-b3ba-0f91d29125e4Figure 6 Credit Chicago Zoological Society: Caption: A male North American river otter, pictured here on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, was born at the Brookfield Zoo on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.

35977c1d-9cbd-4325-9c99-13de99e87e6dFigure 7 Credit Chicago Zoological Society: Caption: This male North American river otter, pictured on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, was born at the Brookfield Zoo on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.

 

The C.Z.S. is a private, non-profit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on property that belongs to the Forest Preserves of Cook County (formerly called the Forest Preserve District of Cook County).  The Website is www.CZS.org.  The A.Z.A. accredits the Brookfield Zoo (as well as the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Shedd Aquarium).

The Brookfield Zoo is located in west suburban Brookfield, Illinois, about fourteen miles west of downtown Chicago.  The address of the North Gate Main Entrance is 8400 31st Street, Brookfield, Illinois 60513.  This is on 31st Street, west of 1st Avenue (and thus the Des Plaines River).

The address of the South Gate Main Entrance is 3300 Golf Road, Brookfield, Illinois 60513.  This is west of Riverside Brookfield High School.  It is within walking distance of the Hollywood Stop on the Metra’s B.N.S.F. Railway, which runs between Chicago and Aurora.

 

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