The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) admitted a sea otter pupfrom Homer to the I.Sea.U critical care unit this week.
On Wednesday afternoon, multiple callers to the Center’s Stranding Hotline reported the sea
otter pup on the road near Mud Bay at the base of the Homer spit. The Homer Stranding
Network, a group of ASLC volunteers trained to assist with this type of situation, was called by
the Center to investigate. After efforts to locate the mother were unsuccessful, the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service (USFWS) authorized the pup’s rescue.
The female sea otter pup is approximately six to eight weeks old and weighs almost eight
pounds. Stranding Coordinator Tim Lebling reports that the pup “is doing well, eating 35% of
her body weight daily from a bottle, and interacting with enrichment items.” Due to the maternal
care required by young otters, pups this age are non-releasable.
The I.Sea.U was designed for sea otters; however, its first residents were two walrus calves
recently transported to their new homes at the New York Aquarium and the Indianapolis Zoo on
October 10. After a quick reconfiguration on Wednesday, the new animal care space was
transformed into a sea otter nursery that can be viewed by visitors to the Center through one-way
windows. The USFWS will determine the placement location for this animal, and the otter’s
stay at the Center is expected to be short. Alaskans wishing to see the otter are encouraged to
visit before the end of October.
The Alaska SeaLife Center is the only permanent marine rehabilitation center in Alaska,
responding to stranded wildlife such as sea otters, harbor seals, and walrus. The Stranding
Program responds to sea otters with the authorization of the USFWS. Once a stranded marine
mammal is admitted to the ASLC, it receives care from experienced and dedicated veterinary
and animal care staff.
“We have no federal or state funding to care for stranded sea otters, and we rely on donations to
keep this program going. We thank Shell Exploration and Production, ConocoPhillips Alaska,
and BP Alaska for their generous contributions earlier this year in support of wildlife rescue,”
said Tara Riemer Jones, president and CEO. “It was a very active summer for our stranding
program, and our financial resources to continue this work are depleted.”
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; instead, those individuals should call 1-888-774-
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.