The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, working along with the Alaska SeaLife Center, has provided a safe home for a newborn Sea Otter pup found stranded along an Alaskan coastline. He was found lying next to other sea otters, all who had died from exposure when they were cut off from the ocean by a frozen bay; In an attempt to get to the ocean, they accidentally beached themselves off the coast of Port Heiden.
“We told the caregivers how to keep him alive until we could arrive,” said Brett Long, husbandry director at the Alaskan SeaLife Center. The most important concern was to ensure the pup was in a cool environment, that its temperature remained steady, and it received fluids and electrolytes. The residents used a baby bottle filled with Pedialyte, a milk replacer, to feed the pup every couple of hours.
The next milestone for the little pup will be to acclimate to his new environment in Pittsburgh, begin eating solid food, respond to keeper’s cues which will teach him cooperative and husbandry behaviors. These behaviors will allow him to participate in his own care such as voluntary weigh-ins, and presentation of paws and flippers. He will develop his natural instincts as he grows and when he is bigger will be slowly introduced to Alki and Chugach, the Zoo’s current sea otter residents. Visitors are able to see the little pup in a special nursery in the lower level of Water’s Edge.
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