ENVIRONMENT

A sea otter pup found alone in Alaska has a new home at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium

Dec 7, 2023, 12:48 PM

An eight-week-old sea otter rescued from Seldovia, Alaska, peaks out of his enclosure at Shedd Aqua...

An eight-week-old sea otter rescued from Seldovia, Alaska, peaks out of his enclosure at Shedd Aquarium Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, in Chicago. The otter was found alone and malnourished and was taken to the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska, which contacted Shedd, and the Chicago aquarium was able to take the otter in. He will remain quarantined for a few months while he learns to groom and eat solid foods before being introduced to Shedd's five other sea otters. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Erin Hooley)

CHICAGO (AP) — An eight-week-old arrival from Alaska chirps loudly before devouring ice chips in the nursery at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium.

He is Pup EL2306 — proper name to be determined — a northern sea otter who was found alone and malnourished in the remote town of Seldovia in October and taken to the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward.

Shedd, one of only a few facilities in the United States with the resources to care for rescued otters, was contacted by the SeaLife Center and the aquarium’s otter team made the cross-country journey with the fluffy brown marine mammal who arrived in Chicago at the end of November.

“Caring for a little otter pup is just like caring for an infant,” including round-the-clock feeding, said Lana Gonzalez, a manager of penguins and otter at Shedd. “He also needs to get groomed. Sea otters have a very dense coat — there’s anywhere from a 700,000 to a million hairs per square inch, and that’s what they use to keep themselves warm. They don’t have a thick layer of blubber or fat like other marine mammals do, so taking care of that coat is very important.”

An otter mother would typically teach her offspring to groom. The aquarium team acts in her place to encourage the pup’s healthy development.

On Wednesday, otter supervisor Tracy Deakins entered the pup’s enclosure with clean white towels and encouraged him to leave the water. Deakins pointed to different spots on his fur and the pup responded by licking or rubbing it with his paws.

The pup will remain in Shedd’s Regenstein Sea Otter Nursery for a few months, building bonds with the staff, and he will eventually be introduced to the otter habitat and the five other otters at the aquarium.

Part of the growth process is moving pups from formula and small bits of clam to other solid foods. Gonzalez mentions the clam is “restaurant quality” and sustainably sourced.

Rescued pups are usually designated by the federal government as non-releasable and the Shedd experts said pups need their mothers for the first year of life.

“Once we bring him into our care he won’t be released back out into the natural environment, they’re just too used to people. But the good news is that he’ll be able to be an ambassador for his species here at the aquarium, so we’re really happy about that,” said Gonzalez.

 

KSL 5 TV Live

Environment

Aftermath of an avalanche off of the Wasatch Mountains. (Courtesy: Rob Holmes)...

Brianna Chavez

Backcountry skier urges caution after triggering avalanche in Little Cottonwood Canyon

A backcountry skier urges other skiers to be cautious after triggering avalanche in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

2 days ago

A sunset spectacle featuring two mitten-shaped rock formations crosses Monument Valley Tribal Park ...

Michael Phillis, Associated Press

Native American tribes gain new authority to stop unwanted hydropower projects

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has rejected several proposed hydropower projects on the largest Native American reservation in the U.S. The commission has also created a policy that essentially gives tribes early veto power over such projects.

3 days ago

Jordanelle Reservoir. 12/19/2033 (Michael Jefferson)...

Eliza Pace

Utah’s water conditions, including snowpack, look ‘optimistic,’ experts say

Storms from January have increased snowpack levels and Utah's water supply shows signs of "resilience and abundance."

11 days ago

An electric UTA bus charges in Salt Lake City, Utah. (KSL TV)...

Ken Fall

EXHAUSTED: Electric transit buses in Utah and the hope for a carbon neutral future

Does the UTA plan for all-electric buses make for dramatic air pollution reductions along the Wasatch Front?

17 days ago

green mountains send up smoke to cover the sky...

Mike Anderson

New $850,000 grant to help Utah monitor wildfire smoke and protect students

We've all see it, the time in late summer and early fall when Utah skies become gray with wildfire smoke. Sometimes it's from other states, sometimes it's even from Canada.

18 days ago

Utah Lake water release...

Alex Cabrero

Utah Lake release sends 300 million gallons of water a day into the Great Salt Lake

The Utah Lake control gates in Saratoga Springs opened Thursday morning to release water into the Great Salt Lake.

18 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

A sea otter pup found alone in Alaska has a new home at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium