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The way to an otter’s heart

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

A splash of fruit juice, a handful of smelt, and lotsa love are surefire ingredients to a river otter’s heart.

Our annual Valentine’s Day enrichment event is coming up on Saturday, and we gave press a sneak peek of the action today when we let our river otters indulge in some fish-filled, heart-shaped ice pops.

River otters Sunny, a 15-year-old female, and Duncan, a 13-year-old male, swam with amazing speed and agility to chase after the pops that were dropped into their pool in the award-winning Northern Trail exhibit.

After munching their way through the ice pops, we gave the otters another enrichment opportunity—a heart-shaped wreath stuffed with frozen smelt.

The wreath proved the perfect size for the otters to swim through as they picked off the frozen fish.

Love will be in the air for the zoo’s other animal ambassadors as they celebrate Valentine’s Day with heart-shaped ice pops, herbal bouquets, heart-shaped steaks, and more on Saturday, Feb. 12, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Here’s the full schedule of enrichment activities for Saturday:
- Golden lion tamarins 10:00
- Snow leopards 10:30
- Otters 10:30
- Jaguar 11:00
- Orangutans 11:00
- Lemurs 11:15
- Willawong Station 11:30
- Sloth bear 11:30
- Anoa 11:45
- Penguins 1:00
- Goats 1:15
- Gorillas 1:20
- Meerkats 1:30
- Pigs 1:30
- Keas 1:30
- Lions 2:00
- Elephants 2:00
- Red pandas 3:00

The special treats are part of the zoo’s ongoing enrichment program to help enrich the lives of the animals by promoting natural animal behavior, such as foraging, playing and exploring, keeping animals mentally and physically stimulated and engaging zoo visitors.

Make it a date and bring your valentine!

Photos (from top): Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo, Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo, Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo, Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo, Mat Hayward/Woodland Park Zoo, Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.


Wendy Clothier said…
It is wonderful to see your zoo provide the animals with these enrichment activities. I especially love otters, so these photos are really superb. Wish you were here in the freezing, snowy northeast, instead of being so far away, and then I would be a frequent visitor. We have been at Woodland Park on a summer visit to our daughter.
It was a really fun day!