Animal fun
1:22 pm
Sat January 14, 2012

The cutest thing: Sea otter born at Seattle Aquarium

Press release:

The Seattle Aquarium announced today the birth of a new sea otter pup at its facility on Pier 59 in Seattle. The young otter was born today just before 5:00 a.m. to the mother otter Aniak – who herself was born at Seattle Aquarium in 2002.

“We are so excited to welcome this new creature into the Aquarium family,” said Traci Belting curator of mammals and birds. “We’ll be observing the mother and pup round the clock to evaluate the health of each in the days ahead.”

Because sea otter pups stay so close to their mothers in the days after birth, and because otter fur is so thick, Aquarium staffers do not yet know whether the pup is a male or a female. Close monitoring of mother and pup by an “otter watcher” team will continue for at least four weeks.

As a precaution, Adaa, the otter’s father, has been temporarily moved to the Oregon Zoo in Portland to allow Aniak and her pup to bond. He will return to the Seattle Aquarium in the near future.

The as-yet-unnamed otter is the second born to Aniak, and the latest in a line of sea otters born at the Aquarium. The Seattle Aquarium became the first institution in the world to raise the animals from conception to adulthood in 1979 with the birth of Tichuk. There have been a total of 10 sea otter births at the Aquarium, and eight of those pups lived to adulthood.

In recent years, the Seattle Aquarium, in collaboration with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, had suspended captive breeding to make room at its facility for beached and stranded sea otter pups. During the past several years, Aquarium biologists have monitored Aniak’s reproductive hormones and were surprised to discover her pregnancy late last summer.

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