Otter award rediscovered

Keepers stumbled upon a prestigious honour, awarded to DZG 22 years ago, while undertaking a spot of spring cleaning behind the otter enclosure.


In 1991, the then newly-built enclosure was named joint winner of the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare Award.

Designed in-house by keepers, the large hillside enclosure featured a glass frontage and included an artificial stream and ponds creating a natural environment for the Asiatic short-clawed otters – considered to be highly innovative at the time.

In June of that year, TV entertainer, Johnny Morris, visited DZG to present the plaque which was recently rediscovered.

Section leader, Jay Haywood, said: “The award was for preserving a natural environment for the otters, which still stands today.

“None of the otter team keepers were working here then, so it was interesting for us to find out all about it and we are hoping to reinstall the plaque so visitors can see it.”

DZG’s nine-strong group of Asiatic short-clawed otters started with a single pair in 1991.

CAPTION: Trainee keeper Jo Turner with the plaque found in the Asiatic short clawed otter enclosure.