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Beloved Maymont river otter Pandora has died

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Posted at 8:25 AM, Sep 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-21 08:25:17-04

RICHMOND, Va. — Pandora, the 17-year-old river otter whose swimming and underwater flips delighted crowds at the Maymont Nature Center, has died.

Pandora died of natural causes, according to veterinarian Dr. Kelly Gottschalk and Maymont.

“The evidence of Maymont’s care and attention is found in the remarkably long number of years that their animals enjoy,” Dr. Gottschalk said. “The staff truly helps them thrive. I hope everyone will be able to celebrate Pandora’s long and happy life, even as they experience the sadness of losing her.”

Pandora came to the park in 1999, from the Chickahominy River, as a six-week-old orphaned and malnourished pup.

Her arrival coincided with the opening of Robins Nature & Visitor Center.

She was the first otter ever to join Maymont’s native wildlife community, a park spokesperson wrote online.

“We thought of Pandora as a ‘sweet and saucy’ personality,” Maymont aquarist, Kristin Coury said. “Some of her favorite things were eating hardboiled eggs, playing with disc sleds and brushes, and snuggling with Neptune in their hammock. Her spunky, curious nature is already sorely missed.”

Neptune, Maymont’s surviving male river otter, is being closely monitored following the loss of his friend.