Auckland Zoo otter Jin has been found alive

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Jin, the short-clawed Asiatic otter who escaped from the Auckland Zoo almost a month ago, has been found alive.

Jin escaped from the zoo by digging through two walls and scaling a 1.8 metre high barrier around her enclosure.

She successfully evaded capture despite numerous sightings around Auckland's inner harbours.

The New Zealand Department of Conservation says a tip-off from a yachtie helped bring an escaped zoo otter's days of freedom to an end this morning, the yachtie spotted her at Islington Bay, at the causeway between Rangitoto and Motutapu island.

Auckland Zoo senior vet Dr Richard Jakob-Hoff said Jin has “…got to take her time and relax in her own time. She is in quite good condition and is well hydrated... She's lost a lot of weight but given that she is really in very good condition."

She has abrasions on her head, another under her tail and on her back paws.

When Jin first left the enclosure she weighed 3.6-kilograms (kg) and when she was caught she weighed 2.5 kg.

She is currently in quarantine for 30 days to make sure she is free of any infections that she could have caught from the outside world. The infection she would most likely get would be salmonella from the raw food she has been eating.

"The most common thing in these types of animals is that toxoplasmosis can cause blindness and can get into the brain and cause fits... She has been very stressed and that is what I am concerned about." said Dr Richard Jakob-Hoff.

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