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Alaska SeaLife Center Welcomes Two Sea Otters to I.Sea.U

The Alaska SeaLife Center's two new sea otter pups.

The Alaska SeaLife Center's two new sea otter pups.

PHOTO: Courtesy of the Alaska SeaLife Center

Photo courtesy of the Alaska SeaLife Center

Seward, AK – July 17, 2013 – The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) admitted two young sea otter pups to its I.Sea.U critical care unit this week. Visitors to the Center can watch the activities of the otters and their care-givers through viewing windows near the Discovery Touch Pool.

Agnes, now a healthy 15-pound, 3-month old female, was found stranded as a newborn near Homer, Alaska in April. The other otter is a 18-pound, 4-month old male named Nuka, who was brought to the Center on June 1 after being reported as abandoned on Kodiak Island. The otters were named for local marine landmarks by employees of Seward tour operators Kenai Fjords Tours and Major Marine Tours. Due to the maternal care required by young otters, pups this age are deemed non-releasable by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Initially, both otters required intense hands-on management to provide all that they needed. Brett Long, Husbandry Director at the Center states, “We are now transitioning their care to manage them as independent, young-adult otters. It is important that they learn to take care of themselves, while we continue to provide 24-hour care.” As these pups are being weaned from formula to their adult diet of clams and squid, they are eating approximately 25-30% of their weight in food daily.

The Alaska SeaLife Center is the only permanent marine rehabilitation center in Alaska, responding to wildlife such as sea otters and harbor seals. The Stranding program responds to sea otters with the authorization of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Once a sea otter is admitted to the Center, it is closely monitored by the veterinary and animal care staff at ASLC.

Alaska SeaLife Center President and CEO Tara Riemer Jones explained, “We have no federal or state funding to care for sea otters, and we rely on donations to keep this program going. We especially thank Shell Exploration and Production, ConocoPhillips Alaska, BP Alaska and ExxonMobil for their generous contributions to the Center in support of wildlife rescue and oil spill response readiness.” Individuals, can make donations directly through the Center’s website.

Photo courtesy of the Alaska SeaLife Center

The Alaska SeaLife Center is a private non-profit research institution and visitor attraction, which generates and shares scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s marine ecosystems. The Alaska SeaLife Center is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. For additional information, visit www.alaskasealife.org.
The Alaska SeaLife Center operates a 24-hour hotline for the public to report stranded marine mammals or birds, 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

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