The Aquarium of the Pacific welcomed Millie, a rescued sea otter to her new home on Thursday. Millie will be joining the other sea otters that live in the Sea Otter Habitat in the Northern Pacific Gallery at the aquarium.
“All of our sea otters, including Millie, were rescued. Scientists determined that these particular sea otters could not be safely returned to the wild,” said Vice President of the Animal Husbandry at the Aquarium of the Pacific, Dr. Sandy Trautwein.
Millie is a four-year-old female sea otter who was stranded and rescued off the coast of Central California. She will be playing an important part at the Aquarium of the Pacific’s new sea otter surrogacy program in partnership with the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
“These surrogate mothers can teach these sea otter pups all the skills that they will need when they are released into the wild so that they can thrive,” said President and CEO at the Aquarium of the Pacific, Dr. Jerry Schubel.
At the Aquarium of the Pacific, its plan for the surrogacy program is to build a new facility happening this year that will be expected in the Fall to receive orphaned sea otter pups to rehab them and to release them back into the wild.
“Millie will make an excellent surrogate mother for our new program and to be a mother for these additional orphans sea otter pups that we bring in,” said Dr. Trautwein.
Southern sea otters are marine mammals related to skunks and weasels. Sea otters play an important role in the ocean, keeping kelp forest and estuary ecosystems healthy.
Sea otters were hunted to near extinction in the early 1900s, but now a protected species, California’s sea otters have grown from a group of 50 in 1938 to nearly 3,000 today. They continue to face serious risks, including oil spills, pollution, and climate change.
The public can visit Millie at The Aquarium of the Pacific, located at 100 Aquarium Way starting on Feb. 27th during the 10:45 a.m. sea otter presentation.
By Geraldine Goicochea
IG : geraldinegoicochea/