Akron Zoo mourns the passing of river otter


The Akron Zoo is sad to announce the passing of their male river otter, Porthos. Porthos went into cardiac arrest during a routine exam and passed away after CPR efforts were not able to revive him. From the results of the necropsy (an animal autopsy) and related analysis, it appears Porthos had a congenital condition that lead to his passing.   

Porthos was a favorite among zoo guests. He would interact with guests when they slide down the otter slide which goes through the otter habitat. He was born on March 19, 2010 at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. He arrived at the Akron Zoo in 2013 from the Dayton Boonshoft Museum for the opening of the Mike & Mary Stark Grizzly Ridge. The median life expectancy for North American river otters is 12 years.

“We are heartbroken over the sudden loss of Porthos,” said Doug Piekarz, president & CEO at the Akron Zoo. “Porthos was a wonderful ambassador for his species and we will all miss him. Thank you to our veterinary care staff for their heroic efforts in this difficult situation.”

As an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Akron Zoo participates in the River Otter Species Survival Plan (SSP).  The SSP works to ensure the long-term survival of North American river otters through breeding and population management programs.  Thanks to local conservation efforts to clean up pollution in rivers and streams, North American river otters are listed as least concern in Ohio as the population has rebounded in the past two decades.

The zoo’s female otter, Molly, will remain in the river otter habitat daily.