NEWPORT, Ore. — An abandoned sea otter pup found stranded in Alaska now has a new home in Oregon.
His name is Nuka, and he is staying at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
Trainers say the little pup was six to eight weeks old when he was found all by himself last summer. He spent some time at the Alaska SeaLife Center for rehabilitation, but trainers don’t think he would survive in the wild if he were to be released. The aquarium in Newport offered to add him to its family, where Nuka has now been for a month and a half.
“He brings a lot of energy,” said Johanna Black, Senior Mammalogist. “Nuka is very excitable, and he has a very strong personality–much different than some of our other younger sea otters that have come through our program.”
Trainers say Nuka would not survive if he was released back into the wild.
“Sea otters spend the first year of their lives with mom,” Black said. “And if mom is not in the picture, they need a way to teach them how to be wild sea otters. Things like grooming their fur, foraging for food; even opening clam shells. Because mom wasn’t around, humans step in, and they become comfortable with humans.”
Black says trainers are training Nuka. He is currently separated from the other sea otters, but within the next month, they hope to integrate him with the other three sea otters.
“It’s really exciting,” Black said. “This is the first time in a long time that we’ve had a new sea otter come in whose under the age of one to be introduced to a group of sea otters.”
The public hasn’t been able to see Nuka yet. He should be making his official debut sometime next month.
To see a live 24-hour feed of the sea otters at the aquarium, click here. The video is of the pool where Nuka will soon be living with fellow sea otters Judge, Mojoe, and Schuster.