Geoff the otter reunited with his family
He was on the loose for five weeks. Geoff was secured in the St Catherine’s Woods in mid-January and was brought back to Durrell Wildlife Park. Geoff has been in Durrell’s quarantine facilities since then.
Following Geoff’s 30-day mandatory quarantine, all of the tests came back negative. This gave us the green light to start getting things ready for the reintroduction. Asian short-clawed otters are very social animals and we were very keen to reunite Geoff with his family as soon as possible.
However, plans to reunite Geoff were delayed by some urgent repair work to drains next to the otter enclosure. Keepers at Durrell decided to postpone the reintroduction until the work was complete and the area was quiet and calm again.
Finally, this morning we were able to reunite Geoff with the rest of his family.
Senior Mammal Keeper Chris Davies explains how it went. “As soon as we put Geoff’s crate in the corral area, his family ran up to the connecting tunnel squeaking in an inquisitive manner. Geoff’s dad Bulan was the first through and immediately ran up to Geoff, touching noses and reaching through to touch Geoff, who squeaked back and put his hands through in return. Eventually all the family went into the corral area and were making excited vocalisations and touching noses with Geoff.
After half an hour of this initial interaction without any aggression, the crate was opened up. We scattered lots of food around as a distraction, which worked perfectly. The whole family began eating together and making contact noises. They appeared very happy to be back together.”
Keepers were concerned that Geoff would be seen as a rival and rejected by the family, but so far, Chris Davies days things have gone very smoothly.
“There was an occasional “snarl” from Geoff’s sisters, Abi and Ollie, but Geoff immediately rolled onto his back in a submissive pose and all was fine. For the rest of the day, we will keep a close eye on the group, but from the initial interactions, it is all looking good. Everyone is behaving as if Geoff had never left and they are all running around, swimming and enjoying the Spring sunshine together. Obviously this is the first day back and we will have to monitor the situation closely over the next few days, but I couldn’t be happier with how it has gone today.”
Otter families in the wild mark out their territories using group scat piles, stamping it into the ground and smearing it around with their tails, which Geoff has been taking part in. This is a great sign that Geoff’s family has accepted him back as one of their own.
Durrell would like to thank the public for their help with Geoff over the last few months and their obvious enthusiasm and interest in his plight. He is now back where he belongs with his family and is looking forward to greeting any visitors to Durrell and spending quality play time with his family.