Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

The Maryland Zoo Mourns Passing of America's Oldest River Otter

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: October 22, 2020 11:45 am

mary river otter passing Maryland

Mary the river otter at the Maryland Zoo

Photo Credit: The Maryland Zoo

Staff are in mourning at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore after making the difficult decision to humanely euthanize their North American river otter, Mary.

Mary was 21 years old making her the oldest North American river otter in the Species Survival Plan (SSP).

She was humanely euthanized on Monday October 19th, 2020 after a rapid decline in her health.

maryland zoo otter

Mary the river otter at the Maryland Zoo

Photo Credit: The Maryland Zoo

“Mary had remarkably few medical issues during her long life here at the Zoo,” said Dr. Ellen Bronson, senior director of animal health, conservation, and research at the Zoo. “She had some mild hind limb weakness for a few weeks and had improved on treatment. Then, last week she began losing weight rapidly despite her typical good appetite. Due to her age and the rapid worsening and severity of her signs, we made the tough decision to humanely euthanize her.”

Mary had been a resident of the Maryland Zoo since 2000 when her and her brother Wilson were found abandoned as pups in Charleston, North Carolina. They were named for Mary Wilson, the Zoo’s first African-American senior zookeeper who was retiring after a 38 year career.

“Mary the otter was always interested in the training sessions with the animal care team. The animal keepers and veterinary technicians worked with her to accomplish voluntary injections for vaccinations and anesthetic inductions, and had even recently trained her to allow voluntary blood draws from her tail,” stated Erin Grimm, mammal collection and conservation manager. “I cannot overstate the importance of the training program and the diligent care she received day after day which was key to providing her with a long life at the Zoo.”

mary river otter passing Maryland

Mary the river otter at the Maryland Zoo

Photo Credit: The Maryland Zoo

— AD —

“In her older years she was still vigorous and energetic, although she was not fond of sharing the habitat with the younger otters at all,” continued Grimm. “She was definitely a staff favorite and we will all miss her.”

Two North American river otters, Piper and Hudson remain at the Maryland Zoo. They can be seen in the Otter Stream Habitat in the Maryland Wilderness section of the Zoo.

mary river otter passing Maryland

Mary the river otter at the Maryland Zoo

Photo Credit: The Maryland Zoo

Learn more about otters Otter Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the Maryland Zoo on their website – Maryland Zoo

Most Popular Animal this Week


Credit: Under License

Redbubble Store.

Baby Animals at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Baby Animals Ready to Greet Colombus Zoo Guests 

Red-Necked Wallaby Joey Marwell Zoo

Red-Necked Wallaby Joeys Pop Out the Pouch at Marwell Zoo 

African Lion Cubs Monarto Safari Park

Monarto Safari Park Lion Cubs Roar on to Exhibit 

We're Social. Follow Us

We share awesome animal photos daily

Featured Animal

little penguin
Share via
Copy link