Saturday, November 8, 2014

Because they care......

"This meant that it was critical that we begin to get calories into her as quickly as possible," stated Karl Meyer, coordinator of animal care for the Sea Otter Program.

On September 30 2014, a jogger heard the cries of an otter pup on Coastways Beach in central California.  They notified the Marine Mammal Center and little one week old Pup 681 was rescued and taken to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  It looked as if the pup had been abandoned by it's mother for more than 16 hours and was seriously underweight.

The Sea Otter Program spent an intensive four weeks feeding and stabilizing Pup 681 and after she had turned the corner in health, they needed to find another facility to continue her care.  The pup would require 24-hour care to make sure that she was sleeping, grooming and eating properly as well as learning the skills for survival that her mother would have taught her.  The program reached out nationally for a facility that would take on that challenge and this week, Shedd's Abbott Oceanarium in Chicago IL offered to take in the little Southern Sea Otter pup.

Sea otters were once so plentiful they ranged from Baja California, up the west coast to Alaska, to Russia and Japan.  The population of them in California now are all descendants of a population of about 50 that survived and were living off the coast of Big Sur CA.  The estimates state that there may be only as many as 3,000 now so they are still in danger of losing their battle for survival and every pup counts.

Little Pup 681 arrived at Shedd's on Oct 28 and at 6 pounds and 22.6 inches long, she was a far cry from the little abandoned pup that weighed less than 2 pounds when she was found.  Shedd's has a dedicated staff of 6 to 8 workers who will work with her 24- hours a day.  She has to learn to groom herself, regulate her own body temperature by getting in and out of the water and all the other things an otter should know.

They report that she continues to learn and has already managed to drink from a bottle, swim and loves to be toweled off.  She had an imitation kelp bed to learn how to use which really is just a large piece of the clothe brushes typically used in a car wash.  Shedd's already has one Southern Sea Otter and when she is ready, she is expected to join that one as well.  They have stated that they have not made a decision as to how she will receive a new name yet.

Even if she were not part of an endangered species, she is just too darn cute to ignore.  I hope that she continues to grow and learn to be a "proper" sea otter........ as she was born to be.

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