GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – A 19-year-old otter at Garden City’s Lee Richardson Zoo died suddenly Wednesday morning.

Ariel was a female river otter at the zoo. She debuted in September of 2003 after arriving from Dickerson Park Zoo. For the last two years, she and the male otter, Brighton, have been playfully entertaining and educating visitors to the Kansas Waters area of the zoo.

Necropsy results are pending. The median life expectancy for North American river otters is 12.3 years.

The Lee Richardson Zoo says they will work with the Species Survival Plan to identify an appropriate mate as soon as possible.  

Keepers at the zoo will offer additional enrichment to the male to keep him occupied until a new companion can travel to Garden City.