Alaska SeaLife Center Rescues Sea Otter Pup By Plane
August 27, 2019

On Monday, August 19, the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) admitted a sea otter pup to their Wildlife Response Program.

ASLC was notified about the sea otter pup on Sunday afternoon, August 18, after she was found stranded against rocks by a strong current. The pup was picked up in Homer, but due to the Sterling Highway closure from the Swan Lake fire, ASLC staff were unable to access the otter by road. The community came together to transport her, including a donated flight by local pilot, Duke Marolf. The Homer Vet Clinic offered to care for the pup overnight until Marolf was able to assist with the pick-up. Air transport of animals into Seward Airport is rare. Only a few local airport drop-offs have occurred in the Center’s twenty year history.  

The female pup is estimated to be 3 weeks old and weighs 5lbs. The staff are optimistic with her prognosis at this time as she arrived in stable condition. She learned to feed from a bottle quickly which is important for the care of this young pup. “We always work to get otter pups on a bottle as quickly as possible. It’s important they receive all the medications and nutrients they require, and a bottle is the most natural alternative for them,” states Wildlife Response Curator, Jane Belovarac.

The arrival of this pup brings the total number of sea otters at the Center to six. Four juvenile sea otters, Bishop, Ranney, Dixon, and Riggs have all graduated from the Wildlife Response Program and are awaiting final placement. Tazlina and this new pup are the youngest otters at ASLC and require extensive care even though both are in stable condition. Young sea otters need 24/7 care for several months of their lives; in the wild, pups are dependent on their mothers for about 6 months.

The Alaska SeaLife Center is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and the only permitted marine mammal rehabilitation center in Alaska. Over 80% of the funding for ASLC’s Wildlife Response Program comes from charitable donations. The Center is thankful for organizations like, BP Alaska, ConocoPhillips Alaska, SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, GCI and PetZoo whose generous support helps ASLC care for marine mammals like sea otters.

ASLC operates a 24-hour stranding hotline where trained professionals will walk people through the proper steps to assist the animal. Call 1-888-774-SEAL if you see a marine mammal in distress.

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