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October 29, 2013

A Rio Remembrance

Shedd Aquarium River Otter

Shedd Aquarium lost one of its most enchanting family members today when the animal care and animal health teams made the difficult but humane decision to euthanize 21½-year-old North American river otter Rio. Her health and quality of life had deteriorated recently due to her advanced age. Rio exceeded by nearly a decade the known median life expectancy for river otters—12 years according to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums—thanks to excellent care, including advances in geriatric veterinary medicine, and her own zest for everything.

Rio had many fans who would wait expectantly at the windows of her habitat for her to bound out of her cave, scamper along the rockwork and dive into the water where she’d twirl and zoom before leaping out and doing it again. She made good use of her extra-large habitat in the At Home on the Great Lakes gallery, enabling everyone along the windows to see her. After her romp, she’d retire to her cave again for a catnap before the next round of playful activity. She also enjoyed her twice-daily training and enrichment sessions, which included batting around her favorite food-stuffed toys.

The river otter was the darling of both the Fishes and Marine Mammals departments, which shared in her care and training. Many staff members throughout the aquarium cannot remember a time when Rio wasn’t here, and she will be greatly missed.

Join us in celebrating Rio’s long, long life at Shedd with this blog from her birthday in March, which includes additional links with more information about her.

Karen Furnweger, web editor

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