Missing otter found

Fugitive otter Jin has been captured on Motutapu Island in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf.

A Department of Conservation spokesman said the short-clawed Asiatic otter, which escaped from Auckland Zoo on June 13, had been recovered safely in a trap.

The otter had earlier been sighted at Devonport, and Rangitoto Island.

The otter was being returned to the zoo today.

Zoo spokeswoman Jane Healy said the otter was spotted by a yachtie yesterday as he sailed past Rangitoto Island.

Traps had already been laid in Islington Bay on Rangitoto and extra food was put out after the sighting yesterday, she said.

Department of Conservation staff found the otter in one of the traps today.

Ms Healy said the otter would have been in the trap overnight.

She was being brought back to the zoo for a check by a veterinarian.

"She is in pretty good shape. But obviously she will be a little worse for the wear for being out there but she is in pretty good shape."

Jin and two other otters escaped from a new compound in the middle of last month. The other otters were caught but Jin was believed to have swum down a creek and into Auckland's Waitemata Harbour.

She crossed the harbour and made her way to Devonport, around North Head and up to Cheltenham Beach.

She crossed the busy shipping channel to Rangitoto Island where she was spotted late last month but then swam back and was seen at Narrowneck on the Takapuna side of the gulf.

She swam back to Rangitoto where traps had been laid before she was caught overnight.

Zoo staff were worried about her because she had been bred in captivity, and being out in the wild was a new experience.

However, they said she seemed to be getting good food.

- HERALD STAFF, NZPA

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