March 18, 2020 – Staff and zookeepers are saddened to report the passing of one the Asian small-clawed otter pups recently born at the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo. In the last few weeks, as the otter family started coming out more often, it became apparent that two pups were growing at a slower rate than the others. Zoo staff and vets at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine Zoological Medicine Service monitored and supported the pups closely. As the female small pup grew stronger, the smaller male pup grew weaker. Intervention to support him increased heavily, with vet school staff coming to the zoo multiple times a day to administer feedings and medications for nearly a week. As staff assessed the pup’s quality of life, the pup died on his own.
In the wild, it is not uncommon for parents to lose their offspring to a myriad of environmental pressures. We are thankful we were able to exhaust all efforts at our disposal to care for the pup. And while these measures could not help the male pup, the smallest female pup has continued to grow and thrive. We are continuing to offer supplemental nourishment for all the pups and the zookeepers, as always, are monitoring the family closely.