The Alaska SeaLife Center admitted a male northern sea otter pup to its Wildlife Response Program on Halloween, the third sea otter pup to be rescued this year.
According to a news release from the center, the pup was found in Seldovia, spotted and reported swimming alone near the docks and “vocalizing in distress.” Sometimes, the release says, sea otter mothers will leave their pups so they can hunt and forage, but after two hours, the pup was still alone.
The pup was reported to the center via the stranded marine animal hotline, the release says, and while onlookers were talking to wildlife response staff, an adult sea otter was seen approaching the pup “in an aggressive manner.”
With that immediate concern for the pup’s safety, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved the pickup of the animal and transport to Seward for rehabilitation.
“Though the pup’s mother was never spotted, a deceased female adult sea otter was found in the area shortly before its rescue, offering a potential explanation for the pup’s abandonment,” the release said.
After arriving in Seward, the pup was found to be dehydrated, malnourished and with lacerations on its muzzle — which the release said staff believe were sustained during a struggle with the aggressive adult. The pup is believed to be around three weeks old and will require 24/7 care for the remainder of its first six months.
A couple of sea otter pups were also rescued in September by the center, one in Kenai after it was found stranded on the road a mile away from the river, and the other in Homer after staff saw its mother killed by an orca whale.
To report an injured or stranded marine animal in Alaska, call the 24-hour Stranded Marine Animal Hotline at 1-888-744-7325.
For more information about the Alaska SeaLife Center and for continuing updates about the wildlife response patients, visit facebook.com/AlaskaSeaLifeCenter.