The Alaska SeaLife Center Admits First Stranded Animal of 2018
January 18, 2018

Seward, Alaska (January 18, 2018) – A male sea otter pup rescued from Bishop’s Beach, in Homer was admitted to the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) on January 1, 2018. In ASLC’s wildlife response history, there has never been an animal recovered on New Year’s Day. Even though the pup arrived early in the season, the Center is prepared for wildlife response yearround. Last year was especially eventful with response to several sea otters, various species of seal, and a walrus as well as a Cook Inlet beluga calf that is still residing at ASLC. 

The pup was found unresponsive on the shore with very dry fur, indicating he had been stranded for a significant amount of time. Upon approval from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, ASLC’s Wildlife Response Team transported the otter to the Center. Once the pup arrived, veterinarians found him to be severely dehydrated and malnourished. The pup endured a small seizure caused by low blood sugar, but stabilized after receiving intravenous fluids and a tube feeding. Estimated at four months of age, the pup is progressing well under ASLC’s 24-hour care. His energy levels are improving and he swims and grooms on his own. Lisa Hartman ASLC Husbandry Director states, “We are allowing him to groom himself, but we still have to offer assistance at times to ensure his coat condition continues to improve.” Since sea otters have no blubber layer, the condition of their fur is imperative to survival. 

Generally, a sea otter pup this age would be solely dependent on its mother’s milk. However, ASLC staff speculates that he must have begun the weaning process, because he is very interested in eating solid foods. ASLC President and CEO Tara Riemer explains, “We have no federal or state funding to care for sea otters, and we rely on donations to keep this program going. During this time of year we are very thankful to all the Alaskans that donate through Pick.Click.Give. Their contributions support the care of animals like this otter from Bishop’s Beach.”

The Alaska SeaLife Center is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and the only permitted marine mammal rehabilitation center in Alaska. The Center’s Wildlife Response Program responds to sea otters with the authorization of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Alaska SeaLife Center operates a 24-hour hotline for the public to report stranded marine animals, and encourages people who have found a stranded or sick marine animal to avoid touching or approaching the animal. Call first! 1-888-774-SEAL.

About the ASLC

Opened in 1998, the Alaska SeaLife Center operates as a private, non-profit research institution and public aquarium. It generates and shares scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s marine ecosystems. The ASLC is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

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