Rescued Sea Otter Pup to Make Her New Home at the Aquarium of the Pacific

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Photo by Hugh Ryono

Aquarium visitors have the chance to take a sneak a peek of the newest furry baby animal at the nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific through daily Behind-the-Scenes Tours starting this Friday, Dec. 10. The three-month old orphaned otter was stranded and rescued off of Santa Cruz when she was just weeks old.

Because she had lost her mother and did not have a chance to learn survival skills, government wildlife officials determined she was unable to take care of herself in the wild. Ollie was transferred to SORAC (Sea Otter Research and Conservation Center) in Northern California for temporary care until a permanent home was found. The Aquarium of the Pacific offered to help, and Ollie made her way to Southern California.

When she arrived at the Aquarium of the Pacific, the otter pup weighed just 10 pounds. Aquarium staff worked around the clock to care for and feed her every three to four hours. She has been doing well, currently weighing in at 18 pounds. “Ollie loves eating clam and playing with ice and enrichment toys. When tours walk by, they will most likely hear her as she is our most talkative otter,” said Caitlin Dixon, Aquarium of the Pacific senior mammal expert.

The public has the chance to see Ollie on Behind-the-Scenes Tours until she joins the Aquarium’s other sea otters in their exhibit around fall of 2011. “We hope that visitors are encouraged to learn more about sea otters. These animals play a key role in their ecosystems, and it is vital that we do our part to help protect them and their environment,” said Dudley Wigdahl, Aquarium of the Pacific curator of marine mammals. Ollie was named by Grace Suomi, a brave six-year-old girl who loves the Aquarium and is currently undergoing cancer treatment.

Admission plus 60-minute Behind-the-Scenes Tour for the chance to see Ollie the otter and the opportunity to feed fish and explore nonpublic areas is $34.95 adult (12+), $32.95 senior (62+), $23.95 child (7-11), and discounted for Aquarium members. Aquarium visitors will also have the chance to explore the sea otter exhibit, which is currently home to four other otters and features conservation education games and presentations. Aquarium of the Pacific, a nonprofit institution, is dedicated to ocean conservation education. Home to more than 11,000 animals, the Aquarium is open daily from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (except Dec. 25 and during the Grand Prix weekend in April). A world of discovery awaits. 562-590-3100

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