North American river otters return after habitat renovation

BALTIMORE, MD – The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is happy to welcome back North American river otters Piper and Hudson after several months of extensive renovations to their habitat in the Maryland Wilderness.

“The otter habitat was first opened in 1989 and after over 30 years of wear and tear, it was definitely in need of some upgrades,” said Kirby Fowler, president and CEO of The Maryland Zoo. “The existing viewing windows have been replaced, and the overall viewing area has been dramatically

expanded to improve the visitor experience. The original path was resurfaced and new rock work was installed in various areas. There was also work done to improve the animal care team areas behind the scenes.”

Highlights of the renovation include:

  • Replacement of the two otter viewing windows;
  • Replacement of the clear acrylic tunnel for underwater viewing;
  • An expanded “beach” area and enhanced eye-to-eye viewing area near the Marsh Aviary;
  • Resurfaced walkways;
  • An otter training area (as yet to be completed).

“One feature I am especially looking forward to is the training platform. From this area, the Otter Animal Care Team can deliver keeper chats and offer the otters snacks and enrichment,” continued Fowler. “We are very excited to see these changes come together and can’t wait for our Zoo guests to see Piper and Hudson enjoy their new outdoor spaces.”

The habitat renovations were designed by Stefansson Design and Consulting. Aquatic Glazing International performed the acrylic and glass replacement, Total Habitat completed the rockwork, painting and the exterior enclosure for the otter, and Century Engineering provided some additional design work. The renovations were funded by the State of Maryland.

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