New Acquisitions at Aquariums on Oregon Coast Include Cute and Cuddly
(Newport, Oregon) – There's a new sea otter pup at the Oregon Coast Aquarium to wow the crowds with, and another historical aquarium on the north coast gets ready to celebrate nearly a century of existence with some new keepsakes (photo above by Cindy Hanson).
The Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport released a new sea otter pup into its ranks Tuesday, letting the adorable creature get to know the three other resident otters. The three took turns playing with the 30-pound baby, rolling around with it in the water and asserting dominance at times. The introduction went off without a hitch, according to aquarium staff.
The pup is currently called #564 and is a male southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris neresis). It was rescued by staff from the Monterey Bay Aquarium in October, where it was found with wounds believed to be from a shark attack. It was found stranded at Morro Strand State Beach, California.
“Mammalogists theorize that its mother did not survive the shark attack and the pup was left stranded,” the aquarium said in a press release. “It was estimated to be approximately ten weeks old at that time.”
In addition, the animal was treated for a parasitic infection which was successfully treated, but ultimately compromised its ability to survive in the wild.
He is now approximately eight months old.
Upon first arriving in Newport, Oregon Coast Aquarium staff had to teach him how to accept food from handlers. He was then put into a holding pool next to the other sea otters, and introduced to the others slowly and periodically.
Now that 564 is used to them, he has officially become part of the exhibit.
The animal was challenging to train at first because he had no human contact before he arrived at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, according to Ken Lytwyn, Aquarium Curator of Mammals.
“He has a very outgoing personality which we see coming out more every day,” Lytwyn said. “He enjoys interacting with the mammal staff and playing with his enrichment devices (toys) that we give him. We’re lucky to have him join our collection and look forward to him growing up here with the rest of our male sea otters. There should be some very exciting times ahead.”
Now comes the challenging process of naming the little guy, as that number for a name won't do at all. The Aquarium is asking for public input to vote on names on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OregonCoastAquarium. People can vote among four choices to help name Sea Otter 564: Filbert, Monte, Barley or Schuster.
Sea otters play a critical role in the marine ecosystem as a keystone species. They promote a healthy kelp forest that, in turn, supports thousands of organisms. Sea otters are also an indicator or sentinel species. They are dying of diseases that have land-based connections. Since humans and sea otters eat many of the same seafood items, high rates of sea otter disease may be a warning for both human health and marine ecosystem health.
For more information, visit the Aquarium’s Web site at www.aquarium.org or call (541) 867-FISH.
Some new acquisitions at the Seaside Aquarium are to be found as well, in preparation for the Seaside landmark's 75th anniversary coming up shortly. Plenty of mugs and cups with adorable seals or the aquarium logo can be found. There's even a large metal coffee mug with a top on it. A variety of plaques and keepsake postcards will be available, with pictures of the historical building in its early years. There's also a couple of picture books full of all sorts of photos and artwork from the Seaside Aquarium’s long history. These are available for purchase at the gift shop or over the phone.
On the Prom, Seaside, Oregon. 503-738-6211. seasideaquarium.com
Photo below by Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium
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