Photo: Nuno Valadas (iStock)

Every so often, a news item comes across The Takeout’s desk that sends our staff into a casually apoplectic rage. Be warned, dear reader: This is one of those stories. A cute animal was killed by the one true predator of every ecosystem—it’s us, fellow humans, we’re the one true predator, we suck—and justice may never be served.

When you go to any zoo or conservatory, “Please don’t feed the animals” can be found on signs everywhere you look. To most people, that’s a straightforward piece of advice. Some, however, take it as an invitation to prove their dominion over the basic functioning rules of life and polite society, and now a two-year-old otter named Otto is dead. His name was Otto. Otto the otter. People killed an otter named Otto. We are God’s worst mistake, as a species.

The Charlotte Observer reports of the sad situation at the Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium in Kingsport, Tennessee, where Otto was moved in October 2017 from a wildlife rehabilitation facility after losing his parents in a flood. Otto was a fixture of the park until yesterday, when Otto was rushed away for emergency medical care after having an adverse reaction to food thrown into his open enclosure.

Later that day, Bays Mountain had to report the worst:

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While it’s unknown as of this moment what caused the reaction, we thought it might be a good time for a quick PSA about how to interact with wild animals. The otter, a carnivorous mammal, commonly subsists on a diet of:

  • fish, particularly shellfish, which some otters learn to open for themselves
  • frogs
  • crabs
  • some small mammals or birds, if food is scarce

The otter does not commonly subsist on a diet of:

  • anything these mouthbreathers threw into the otter enclosure, because whatever it was, it killed Otto the otter and those involved should feel a deep and unyielding sense of shame and disgrace, you insufferable fucking goons

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Goodnight, sweet Otto, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. You were too good for this shitty world. We’ll remember you as Bays Mountain did: “A cheerful creature, he could often be found swimming or playing with toys in his pool, even when it was snowing outside.”