Otter Loses Limb at Living Shores Aquarium

Violations show why aquarium should stay closed

Published in the Conway Daily Sun — May 1, 2020

To the Editor:

When Living Shores Aquarium at Story Land in Glen opened for business in November 2019, we thought it was a bad idea and said so. Just four months later, the aquarium was written up for Animal Welfare Act violations.

During a USDA inspection on March 4, the aquarium received two citations, both involving a failure to keep animals safely separated. Insufficient barriers and chain link dividers allowed stressed-out animals to fight through the gaps. The more serious of the two violations resulted in an Asian small-clawed otter being injured so severely that her forelimb had to be amputated.

The inspector reported that the otters “vocalize very loudly and vigorously,” adding that, “loud vocalizations and aggressive behavior are indicators of behavioral stress.” In the wild, otters establish complex social structures, with relationships often changing over time. When we keep wild animals in captivity, this natural order is easily disrupted.

Due to the pandemic, Living Shores Aquarium is currently closed to the public. We are sorry for the hardship they face and for those who may have lost jobs, but our opinion of the operation remains the same: wild animals belong in the wild. Wild animals are not here for our entertainment, and encouraging close encounters with them also drives demand for the illegal wildlife pet trade.

We encourage families to find other ways to appreciate wild animals — from afar.

James Glover, president
N.H. Animal Rights League