The Buffalo Zoo recently hosted otter keepers from the U.S., Canada and Colombia this past week for the biannual Otter Keeper Workshop, a comprehensive, four-day workshop covering the care and management of otters in human care. This is the first time it was held in Western New York. The Buffalo Zoo was selected as the host institution, providing professional development to animal care professionals who work with various species of otters.
The workshop was devoted specifically to four species managed by Association of Zoos and Aquariums facilities: African spotted-necked otters, Asian small-clawed otters, giant otters, and North American river otters. It also covered topics such as husbandry, nutrition, veterinary care, water quality, training, enrichment, education and conservation.
"It was really great to meet with zookeepers from far and near who share a love for otters," Buffalo Zoo General Curator Malia Somerville said. "It's also very helpful to hear many of the innovative and different care practices taking places at other facilities."
Participants in the workshop spent four days in Western New York, with three days at the Buffalo Zoo and one day at the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester. For its part, the Buffalo Zoo has six individuals as part of its North American river otter family, known as a romp. Two pups were born in the spring of this year and are representative of the conservation efforts undertaken for a species that was once endangered but is now showing signs of recovery.