Two elderly male otters died within an hour of each other at a New Zealand zoo yesterday. Handlers say that the second one probably died of heartbreak after watching his mate pass away.
Zookeeper John Miller said the Asian otters, who were 19 and 16 years-old, had been best friends for 15 years. It’s thought that having each other for company kept them alive beyond the normal otter life-span of 14 years. According to handler Gail Sutton, the pair lived to nearly 100 in human years. ‘They were a great pair of otters, they were interested in what was happening,’ she said. The pair had been unwell for a couple of weeks but after completing treatment they were returned to their enclosure, only to be discovered dead the next morning. ‘We were devastated and we couldn’t work out quite what had happened with them,’ Ms Sutton said. ‘It brought a tear to my eye and it’s making me well up now.’ ‘The only consolation from this is that they both went together because if one had gone without the other, the remaining one would have been really lost.’