The Shedd Aquarium and the Monetary Bay Aquarium have come together to save a Southern Sea Otter which was stranded on a beach. The pup weighed just 6 pounds and measured only 57cm (22.6 inch) long when it arrived at the Shedd Aquarium last week.
One evening when a resident of California was strolling along the beach she heard crys. She notified The Marine Mammal Centre who got in contact with the Monetary Bay Aquarium. They run a successful sea otter program and were going to rescue the pup. As the time it was dark though so they waited till morning to conduct the rescue. When it was found on October 1 it was decided it was orphaned. Aquarium staff and workers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife went and rescued the pup.
The aquariums manager of the Sea Otter Program, Karl Mayer said, “On arrival at Monterey Bay Aquarium, 681 weighed 1.0kg, which is tiny for a newborn sea otter, and she had been separated from mom for at least 16 hours. This meant it was critical that we begin to get calories into her as quickly as possible.”
Staff took the pup to the Monetary Bay Aquarium where it was stabilised and she has spent the first four weeks of her life there. Now she has moved to the Abbott Oceanarium at the Shedd Aquarium where she is living behind the scenes. She has also been named pup 681. She is the second endangered Southern Sea Otter to live at the aquarium. She is being given round the clock care by aquarium staff.
“Pup 681’s situation was urgent. As an organization dedicated to marine mammal care and conservation, we were perfectly positioned to ensure that this little pup had a home, providing the long-term care needed to survive,” said Tim Binder the aquariums vice president of animal collections.
So that the pup can thrive care staff work a schedule that means she has someone with her 24 hours a day. She is spending her time in the Regenstein sea otter nursery developing skills in foraging, feeding and regulating her own temperature. Shedd is one of very few aquariums in the US who can assist in these rescues so are always happy to help.
“It truly takes a village to rehabilitate a young sea otter. Our animal care team is teaching the pup how to be an otter,” added Binder. “While the process is lengthy, our hands-on experience and long history rehabilitating sea otters allows us to use our expertise to work on saving this pup’s life by providing her with a home and the care she needs.”
She is passing milestones every day and is now eating solid food such as shrimp and clams and climbing onto the towel which keepers use to dry her so she can regulate her temperature.
The sea Otter rescue program has been operating since 1984. In this time 700 adults and pups and have been rescued. They otters are either healed and released, hand raised and kept or adults which couldn’t return to the wild.
These animals are endangered in the wild. Shedd Aquarium is seen as a leader in helping them. Most of the otters at the aquarium were rescued pups.
Photo credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez