Showing posts tagged as "otter pup"
Boy oh Boy! A Sea Otter Pup on Exhibit!
This fuzzy Valentine will certainly steal your heart. Say hello to a young male pup that joined our sea otter exhibit on February 14. At eight weeks old, he’s the youngest pup to date to join the exhibit. His hefty size – 15 pounds – is the result of a very healthy appetite since he came into our care at two weeks of age and weighing barely six pounds.
He was rescued on January 5 in Cayucos (San Luis Obispo County) by staff with the Marine Mammal Center. That same day, they transferred care of the pup into the capable hands of our Sea Otter Research and Conservation program as pup 572, which means he’s the 572nd sea otter to be admitted.
During the pup’s first exam we found a small laceration on his right shoulder, which suggests his mother was bitten by a white shark while this pup was on her chest. If that’s true, he’s the seventh stranded pup to come to us under similar circumstances in the past two years.
Now the pup is under the tutelage of Joy, who will teach him what a young otter needs to know. Joy’s our most experienced surrogate mother, with a brag book of 15 pups (572 is her 16th) – more than any other otter in our program.
Joy has cared for two other pups on exhibit. In 2010 she mentored pup 502 before that pup was transferred to her permanent home at Georgia Aquarium. In 2011 Joy raised pup 540 before she moved to her new home at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Washington.
Joy’s also the only available adult female to raise this pup, as her fellow surrogates and companion animals are busy behind the scenes with their own charges. We’ve received permission from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to prepare 572 for life in the public eye. He’s the fourth pup we’ll raise on exhibit, and the third who will eventually find a new home at another aquarium as an ambassador for wild sea otters.
For now he’ll keep his number and will eventually get a name from his new caretakers. Sea otters are intelligent animals that can understand and respond to many words and commands. Using a name helps greatly with training exercises, and it would confuse and frustrate pup 572 if we gave him one name and his new home another.
Be sure to come see him when you visit or watch him on our live Otter Cam. We’ll also post updates and images on our Facebook page. As in the past, we may move him behind the scenes with little notice if that’s in his best interests, so be sure to check if you’re planning a special trip.