How’s that for a tongue twister? 😉 We are so excited to “re-blog” about a wonderful Press Release that went into circulation last week from the Alaska SeaLife Center.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with the Alaska SeaLife Center, please let us explain. This is Alaska’s only public aquarium and ocean wildlife rescue center is celebrating ten years on the shores of Resurrection Bay. Visitors to this “window on the sea” have close encounters with puffins, octopus, sea lions and other sealife while peeking over the shoulders of ocean scientists studying Alaska’s rich seas and diverse sealife.
They are a private, non-profit corporation with approximately 105 full-time employees and dedicated staff of volunteers and interns. And their mission? “The Alaska SeaLife Center generates and shares scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s marine ecosystems.”
Now, onto the super-cute and totally incredible creatures; the Sea Otters! As of July 17, 2014 the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) if currently caring for three young adult sea otters rescued through its Wildlife Response Program.
All three otters were rescued from Homer, Alaska on separate dates: MoJoe in June 2012, 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 & 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 consumed 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 4:30pm 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. So go see the extreme sea otter trio while you can! We promise you will not be disappointed! 😉