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Otter stolen from Oakland Zoo

otter
Harriet is a 20-pound North American River Otter  

June 7, 2000
Web posted at: 6:29 p.m. EDT (2229 GMT)

OAKLAND, California (CNN) -- The reward for the safe return of a North American River Otter stolen from the Oakland Zoo on Monday has reached $12,000, zoo officials said Wednesday.

Harriet, a 20-pound, 13-year-old recent mother, was taken Monday after the zoo had closed, said zoo officials, who discovered the theft Tuesday morning.

Harriet needs a special diet that requires meals four times per day, the zoo officials said.

Harriet's year-and-a-half-old pup, Willow, has not eaten since her mother disappeared. Otters depend on their mothers to learn to swim.

Harriet's mate, Ozzie, has eaten only sporadically since Monday, zoo officials said.

Augmented by donations from private individuals, the zoo's offer of $1,000 for Harriet's safe return has swollen to $12,000. Burglars tore down a chain-link fence to reach the otter and toted her away in a zoo animal carrier Sunday night, zoo officials said. A squirrel monkey exhibit was damaged during the break-in.

Bites from wild otters can spread diseases, and Harriet has bitten her handlers in the past.



RELATED STORIES:
New York's river otters making a comeback
October 28, 1999
Oliver the otter-artist stars in S. African 'zoovaganzer'
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Conservationists push to keep otter on endangered list
July 22, 1996

RELATED SITES:
Oakland Zoo: North American River Otter
The River Otter
River Otter
OTTERNET.COM Species Profiles - The North American River Otter
River Otter Fun Facts


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