Otter still not popped: Kitchi remains on the loose more than a week after busting out of zoo

Earlier this week, we told you about Kitchi the otter, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo escapee, who managed to evade recapture even after being trapped in a culvert with a robotic camera vehicle at one end and a safe trap on the other.

By now, Kitchi's been on the lam so long that the zoo has started a daily "Otter Watch" to recap the thus-far fruitless search.

What happened yesterday, day eight? Several prank calls to the zoo's "otter hotline" in honor of April Fools' Day. But zoo spokesman Sean Anglum points out that zoo personnel have followed up on more than two-dozen apparently legitimate sightings, to no avail. You're a sneaky one, Kitchi. Look below for more details:


OTTER WATCH 2010: Day 8

April 1, 2010 -- One week has now passed since Kitchi and his three otter pals gained access out of their exhibit at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and led Zoo staff on a search through Zoo grounds and beyond. Since that day, Kitchi the North American river otter has been missing, though Zoo staff have been involved in extensive searching for him. By last weekend, an OTTER HOTLINE was established to allow the community to communicate with Zoo staff concerning sightings of the wayward otter.

Today, even with a few predicted April Fool's Day prank calls, the OTTER HOTLINE was slow at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. The Zoo has followed up on approximately two dozen tips phoned in to the Otter Hotline to date. None of Thursday's tips led to the missing otter, but the Zoo wants to thanks those reporting for their efforts.

Now that the weather is warming, there are more people out walking and biking trails, and recreating by lakes and streams. The chances of seeing Kitchi should increase as the community gets outside more in the coming weeks.

If anyone spots the otter or observes evidence that the otter has been in your area, the Zoo asks that you do not approach the animal, but call the OTTER HOTLINE number at 719-648-7348 to make your report. Time of day and direction the otter was traveling in and/or type of evidence left behind is of importance in making the report to the Zoo. It is also requested that the reporting person take still photos or video of the otter, that will definitely help in the search. Images taken with cell phones are acceptable, as are photos taken with more high-end equipment.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo wants to assure the community that their pets and family members are safe if they do not provoke or corner the animal, but fish in water features, ponds and lakes are at risk. Again, the Zoo's OTTER HOTLINE number is 719-648-7348.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts