A young sea otter pup rescued from the beach in Homer is now being treated by the Alaska SeaLife Center through its Wildlife Response Program.
According to a Monday press release from the center, located in Seward, the pup was admitted at 2 weeks old on Nov. 12, after being spotted near a beachfront house is Homer.
“The good Samaritans followed the proper protocols when spotting a wild animal in distress; they called ASLC after observing the otter from a safe distance for over an hour,” the release states.
The sea otter pup was observed vocalizing near the water’s edge for “quite some time,” according to the center. When the tide came in, the pup ended up high on shore. The center intervened with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permission to transport and admit the pup due to its dire condition and the lack of any other otters nearby.
Malnourished and dehydrated, the pup arrived at the SeaLife Center weighing in a 5.6 pounds, according to the press release.
“He was so hungry that he tried to chew the nipple off the baby bottle when we gave him his first feed,” Veterinarian Elizabeth deCastro is quoted as saying in the release.
Since its admission to the Wildlife Response Program, the sea otter pup has grown to 8 pounds, and the center staff are “cautiously optimistic” about his condition.
“He is proving to be a very independent pup, ” Veterinary Assistant Specialist Hanna Sundstrom is quoted as saying in the release. “He has been exploring his pools extensively and is already taking really good care of his coat.”
The next step will be to move the pup into a larger pool, and getting him to eat more solid food.
The Alaska SeaLife Center recently overcame major financial setbacks spurred by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, raising more than $4 million. The press release notes that $2.3 million of that came from individual donors.
The Wildlife Response Program used to rescue this otter pup and other marine animals is relying more on donors than it has in the past, the release states.
To support the program or learn more about it, visit alaskasealife.org.