LONG BEACH— The Aquarium of the Pacific officially introduced a fourteen-week-old southern sea otter to its otter habitat on Dec. 28. The otter pup requires round-the-clock care at this point with feedings every three hours. The otter pup lived in the behind-the-scenes nursey until it was ready to join the aquarium’s other sea otters. The otter was recently rescued off the coast of Pismo Beach by trained responders from the Marine Mammal Center’s field office in Morro Bay. It was determined by government wildlife officials that the orphaned pup would not be able to survive on its own in the wild and deemed the pup unreleasable. The pup was then sent to the Aquarium of the Pacific, who volunteered to foster the pup. Upon arrival at the aquarium, the pup only weighed 10 pounds, and due to its strong appetite, the pup is currently up to 16 pounds. Caring for this otter pup will enhance experience of aquarium staff who will help to care for future orphaned pups as participants in the Sea Otter Surrogacy program. The program pairs resident aquarium otters with orphaned puppies to teach them the skills needed to survive in the wild. The new surrogacy area at the Aquarium of the Pacific is being built behind the scenes at its Molina Animal Care Center; it will shelter three to four rescued sea otter pups each year.
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