Alaska SeaLife Center Press Release
Seward, AK – July 17, 2014 –
The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) is currently caring for three young adult sea otters rescued through its Wildlife Response Program.
All three otters were rescued from Homer, AK on separate dates: MoJoe in June 2010, Agnes in April 2013, and Aurora in September 2013. All were originally stranded at less than three months old. At that age, pups require constant care from their mothers. Due to the intensive maternal care required, pups under six months of age are deemed non-releasable by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
The otters will spend the entire summer in Seward while they await a more permanent placement at an approved facility in Europe. This is the first time the Alaska SeaLife Center has been home to this many young adult sea otters at one time. Housing three otters involves a substantial amount of time and care. Because otters eat approximately 25 percent of their body weight daily, feeding these animals is costly. Each otter consumes more than $800 worth of clam, squid, capelin, and shrimp every month.
MoJoe, Aurora, and Agnes are providing ASLC with a special opportunity to teach visitors about the life history and behavior of sea otters. Visitors to the Center can view the otters in an outside pool from the research overlook or get a closer look during a Sea Otter Behind-the-Scenes (BTS) Tour.
The otter BTS tour augments the regular BTS tour by including an in-depth discussion of the otters’ rescue and rehabilitation process, as well as their individual habits and characteristics. The tour takes guests to an outside training session where they will spend 15 minutes getting paw-to-paw with these curious creatures. The otters often introduce themselves by making their way right up to the glass to inspect their new visitors. During the training session, ASLC husbandry staff chat about the challenges that go along with caring for such playful and inquisitive animals. The session wraps up with an enrichment activity designed to show off the sea otter’s quick mind and problem-solving skills.
The Sea Otter Behind-the-Scenes Tour is offered daily at 4:30 pm to guests ages 12 and older. Prices for the hour-long tour are $25 for adults and $20 for students (12-17). This tour will only be offered through the end of Summer 2014.
The Alaska SeaLife Center is the only permanent marine rehabilitation center in Alaska, responding to wildlife such as seals, walrus and sea otters. The Center’s Wildlife Response Program responds to sea otters with the authorization of 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.
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