by Chloe Rossman
The Center is grateful to still be able to care for animals like this pup after near closure.
The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) admitted a 2-week-old sea otter pup to the Wildlife Response Program on November 12.
The male sea otter pup was spotted by residents near a beachfront home in Homer, Alaska. The good samaritans followed the proper protocols when spotting a wild animal in distress; they called ASLC after observing the otter from a safe distance for over an hour.
The pup was vocalizing for quite some time near the water’s edge. When the tide came in, he ended up high and dry on the shore. His dire condition and lack of nearby otters spurred ASLC volunteers to pick him up and transport him to the Center with USFWS permission.
This sea otter pup, initially weighing 5.6 pounds, arrived malnourished and dehydrated.
“This pup was in critical condition when he came to us. He was so hungry that he tried to chew the nipple off the baby bottle when we gave him his first feed,” notes Elizabeth deCastro, Veterinarian.
While he clearly had an appetite, the team worked to integrate formula slowly to not overwhelm his system and encourage him to eat more moderately.
After a few weeks of providing round-the-clock care for this now 8 pound pup, the staff is cautiously optimistic about his condition.
“He is proving to be a very independent pup. He has been exploring his pools extensively and is already taking really good care of his coat,” states Veterinary Assistant Specialist, Hanna Sundstrom. Next steps will be to get him eating more solid food like clam and encourage him to swim and dive in a larger pool.
Due to the Alaska SeaLife Center’s financial setbacks resulting from reduced visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center’s Wildlife Response Program is more reliant on donors than ever before to care for animals like this sea otter pup.
ASLC is grateful for the public’s overwhelming response to the Save the Center Campaign launched during the summer. Over 4 million dollars was raised, and 2.3 million of that amount came from individual donors. Thanks to the support, the Alaska SeaLife Center’s doors are still open and the team can continue rescuing stranded and injured animals like this pup.
The Center is no longer in immediate jeopardy due to generosity from campaign donors and from Wildlife Response Program donors including ConocoPhillips, BP, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, SeaWorld Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, Borman Family Foundation, PetZoo, GCI, Partners4Wildlife, HDR Marine, Sea Otter Foundation & Trust, and Grizzly Pet Products.
Ongoing funding is still required to maintain important mission work at the Center and people are encouraged to support Alaska SeaLife Center programs like Wildlife Response at: www.alaskasealife.org/savethecenter.
Opened in 1998, the Alaska SeaLife Center operates as a 501(c)(3), non-profit research institution and public aquarium in Seward, Alaska. The Center 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. To learn more, visit www.alaskasealife.org.
Chloe Rossman is the Media and Communications Manager for the Alaska SeaLife Center.