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Tiny sea otter pup brought to Seward after Kodiak rescue


Kaladi weighed only three pounds when admitted

Seward, Alaska - May 21, 2010

A couple taking a beach stroll on Kodiak Island played a key role in saving a small treasure they discovered on the shores of Mayflower Cove this week.  A very young sea otter pup had lost its mother and was on the beach alone.

The couple contacted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, who notified the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward.  A local veterinarian assisted in evaluating and stabilizing the female pup by giving her fluids while transportation was arranged.

"We appreciate the help provided by Tonya Lee of the USFWS and Dr. Angie Johnson of the Kodiak Veterinary Clinic," says Brett Long, husbandry director at the Alaska SeaLife Center. "Fortunately, the pup was found and taken care of by the right people."

Era Aviation donated a flight to Anchorage, where a veterinary team from the ASLC performed a basic exam and found the pup was in good condition. They administered additional fluids and encouraged her to nurse from a bottle during the drive to Seward. Staff members named her "Kaladi" in keeping with this year's theme of caffeine-related products.

"Kaladi weighed less than three pounds when admitted, so she was probably under two days old," says Tim Lebling, the Alaska SeaLife Center's stranding coordinator. "Her mother may have abandoned her soon after giving birth, though we rarely know how an animal gets orphaned."

Although she is still very fragile and needs plenty of sleep, Kaladi is in stable condition and has become adept at suckling sea otter formula from a baby bottle. She will remain at the Center until a permanent home is identified and she is stable enough for transport. Although Kaladi will stay in the quarantined nursery, live camera feeds will allow many ASLC visitors to see her on a video display in the exhibit area.

The Alaska SeaLife Center operates the only permanent facility in the state that is licensed to hold stranded marine mammals and seabirds for rehabilitation. Because sea otter pups demand 24-hour-a-day, hands-on care by staff members at the Center who become their surrogate mothers, they cannot be released to the wild after rehabilitation.

The SeaLife Center operates a 24-hour hotline for the public to report stranded marine mammals or birds, and encourages people who think they may have found a stranded or sick marine animal to call first at 1-888-774-SEAL and avoid touching or approaching the animal.

The Alaska SeaLife Center is a non-profit marine science facility that generates and shares scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska's marine ecosystems.. The Center's research facilities and naturalistic exhibits immerse visitors in the dynamic marine ecosystems of Alaska.  Learn more at www.alaskasealife.org. .
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