This post is in memory of Kenai, one of the last two surviving sea otters of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Unlike adult otters affected by the spill, she and other rescued pups lacked survival skills and could not be released back into the wild; instead, Kenai spent her life at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium. The Associated Press writes:
Kenai was found as a pup, weighing less than 10 pounds (4 1/2 kilograms), along with her oil-coated mother after the disaster. Her mother died, but a sea otter biologist was able to care for Kenai in a hotel bathtub.
"She literally fit in the palm of my hand," said Ken Ramirez, Shedd's executive vice-president of animal care and training.
In her later years, she provided much information to scientists about geriatric sea otters. Kenai suffered a stroke, underwent ovarian cyst surgery and needed a root canal. She lived to age 23 1/2, while the typical life span of a sea otter is between 15 and 18 years.
Kenai was humanely euthanized this week after a rapid decline in health.
HT to lunasasylum