Fargo zoo staff not laughing at picture of otter with 'Otterbox'
FARGO--The Red River Zoo is not laughing about a photo showing its lone otter chewing on an iPhone encased in an 'OtterBox' protective case, or the tongue-in-cheek media coverage that followed. A Fargo TV station last week aired the story and pho...
FARGO--The Red River Zoo is not laughing about a photo showing its lone otter chewing on an iPhone encased in an 'OtterBox' protective case, or the tongue-in-cheek media coverage that followed.
A Fargo TV station last week aired the story and photo taken by a local zoogoer. The story was then picked up by some national media sites.
Zoo Executive Director Lisa Tate said what may have been ironic or funny to others is not to her.
"[The animals] can ingest pieces of plastic, it can hurt them, it can actually kill them," Tate said of the protective phone cover. "It's something that we watch for, and most of our zoo visitors are good about it, but some people aren't as responsible or aware."
Tate suspects the phone was accidentally dropped into the exhibit.
"Rather than having people standing around videotaping it, it would have been nice if someone was more concerned for the otter and if they could've come find a staff member right away so that we could have dealt with it sooner rather than later," she said.
Someone did eventually notify a zookeeper and the phone was removed from Butler's play area.
OtterBox's public relations staff issued a tongue-in-cheek response to the TV bit that said the company was working to "otter proof" their cases, but added that it did not recommend people approach otters with smart phones or their cases.
Valley News Live's story about the OtterBox in the otter exhibit wasn't Tate's favorite coverage of the zoo. She said it should have included some information on the potential harm caused to zoo animals by outside objects such as phone cases.
"We did not know about the story ahead of time, we heard about it just like the public," Tate said. "I have to say, I was very disappointed; that's not journalism to me."