This week, the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) welcomed its first stranding patient for the 2012 season. On Monday, residents of Port Heiden discovered a deceased Northern sea otter and her surviving male pup along Meshik Beach. The Port Heiden community provided overnight care for the otter, feeding him every four hours as instructed by Center staff. The pup was then flown to King Salmon, where ASLC senior veterinarian Dr. Pam Tuomi joined him on his journey to the professional care facility in Seward. Both Dr. Tuomi and the otter arrived safely at the Center late Tuesday night.
Meshik, named after the location where he was found, is approximately three weeks old and weighs almost seven pounds. Husbandry Director Brett Long reports that Meshik “is doing well, eating a healthy mixture of formula and fluids.” The ASLC staff would like to thank the residents of Port Heiden for their considerate effort caring for Meshik and their cooperation regarding the incredible logistics of this multi-community transport.
The Alaska SeaLife Center is the only permanent marine rehabilitation center in Alaska, responding to wildlife such as sea otters and harbor seals. The Stranding program responds to sea otters with the authorization of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Once a sea otter is admitted to the Center, it is closely monitored by the veterinary and animal care staff at ASLC.
Alaska SeaLife Center President and CEO Tara Riemer Jones explained, “We have no federal or state funding to care for sea otters like Meshik, and we rely on donations to keep this program going. We especially thank Shell Exploration and Production, as well as ConocoPhillips Alaska, for their generous contributions to the Center in support of wildlife rescue.” Individual Alaskans can make donations directly through the Center’s website or when filing online for their Permanent Fund Dividend through the Pick.Click.Give. program.
The Alaska SeaLife Center is a private non-profit research institution and visitor attraction which generates and shares scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s marine ecosystems. For more information regarding Meshik, the Stranding program or the Alaska SeaLife Center, please reference the Alaska SeaLife Center website at www.alaskasealife.org.