Photo courtesy of The Alaska SeaLife Center

A female northern sea otter pup found stranded on a road in Kenai, over five miles up the Kenai River, has been admitted to the Wildlife Response Program at the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) in Seward. This new addition rounds out this year’s roster of patients of 10 harbor seals, a fur seal, a walrus calf, and more.

The initial spotter of the stranded pup thought at first the critter was a cat, but called police after discovering it was a young otter. Officers worked with ASLC staff to move the pup away from the road. The road was about half a mile from the nearest river.

The pup is estimated to be about three months old, and her mother was not found in the area. 

ASLC staff received permission from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to bring her back to ASLC for care.

The pup was found to be dehydrated and malnourished, with low blood glucose levels, and her feces indicated she had not eaten in a while.

Photo courtesy of The Alaska SeaLife Center

ASLC’s Wildlife Response Curator Jane Belovarac said young otter pups like this one need constant care and attention, as they are transitioning from their pup coat to their adult coat and also being weaned. This includes assistance in grooming and monitoring their nutrition, which is why they require 24-hour care.

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The center also admitted another female northern sea otter pup on Sept. 4, but no details about that pup were provided.

The Wildlife Response Program is able to provide care for stranded and injured marine animals in part due to contributions from corporate sponsors and individual donors. Donors include ConocoPhillips Alaska, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, PetZoo, Partners 4 Wildlife, Matson, GCI, and a number of individual donors, funds, and foundations such as the Stanley J. Williams Fund, Mesara Family Foundation, and the NC Giving Fund.

The center reminds Alaskans that before approaching an injured or stranded marine animal in Alaska to call the 24-hour Stranded Marine Animal Hotline at 1-888-774-SEAL (7325).

The ASLC opened in 1998 and operates as a non-profit research institution and public aquarium, which shares scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s marine ecosystems.

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