PETA Suggests That Brandywine Zoo Name New Otters ‘Crave’ and ‘Freedom’

The Best Way to Educate Visitors Is to Let Them Know That Wildlife Belongs in the Wild, Says Group

For Immediate Release:
May 2, 2013

Kaitlynn Kelly 202-483-7382

Wilmington, Del. — PETA has sent a letter to Megan McGlinchey, president of the Delaware Zoological Society, which operates Wilmington’s Brandywine Zoo, urging her to consider the names Crave and Freedom for two newly acquired North American river otters in the zoo’s “Name the Otters” contest. In the letter, PETA points out that zoos severely restrict otters’ freedom of movement, routinely break up families and other tightly knit social groups, and do little to educate visitors about these complex and intelligent animals’ needs and natural behavior.

“Naming the two new otters Crave and Freedom would send a message that naturally free-roaming animals don’t belong in captivity,” says PETA Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “The best way to preserve animals in the wild is to protect their natural habitat, not put them on display like they’re nothing more than animated museum pieces.”

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PETA’s letter to the Delaware Zoological Society follows.


May 2, 2013


Megan McGlinchey
Delaware Zoological Society

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 3 million members and supporters, including thousands across Delaware. We read that The Brandywine Zoo is hosting a “Name the Otters” contest for two North American river otters recently acquired from a Minnesota facility, and we’d like to suggest names that would most accurately describe the otters to zoo visitors: “Crave” and “Freedom.”

As I’m sure you will admit, captivity cannot begin to replicate animals’ natural habitats, even under the best of circumstances at the best of zoos. As I’m sure you also know, in nature, where they belong, North American river otters are highly mobile and regularly travel up to 26 miles a day. In captivity, their range is measured in feet, not miles. North American river otters are very social and commonly establish large, enduring social groupings. At The Brandywine Zoo, these otters will have only each other for companionship.

When zoos treat animals like commodities—buying, selling, borrowing, and trading animals without regard for established relationships—the physical and mental frustrations of captivity often lead to abnormal behavior. For these otters, having little to no opportunity to express natural behavior or make choices in their daily lives may lead to boredom, neurosis, or self-destructive behavior, such as repetitious swimming patterns, pacing, or self-mutilation.

Given how accurate our names would be, I hope they are given consideration. Thank you for your time.


Chris Holbein
Associate Director 

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