Rescued Sea Otter Pup Tazlina Is Ready to Check Out Her New Home at Vancouver Aquarium
Meet Tazlina, Vancouver Aquarium’s new resident! Tazlina was found abandoned off the coast of Alaska this spring on the very day she was born. She was taken to Alaska SeaLife Center, where she was rehabbed and learned some ottering basics before heading off to Vancouver. When she’s a little bigger she’ll start meeting Vancouver Aquarium’s other sea otters - until then she’ll be kept in a private nursery with a VERY attentive staff.
Small, furry and still attached to her fleshy umbilical cord, this newborn Northern sea otter caught the attention of some fishermen trawling for salmon at Alaska’s Anchor Point in April. They watched her for an hour and saw that she was on her own, so they alerted the Alaska SeaLife Center, then met volunteers at Homer Harbor, who took her to the Center in Seward.
There, the abandoned dependent pup — soon named Tazlina, after a southeastern Alaska region near the place where she was discovered — weighed in at 1.45 kg. Animal care staff did bloodwork and a body exam, revealing that Tazlina was dehydrated. Some of her teeth had erupted, but her incisors and molars were still crowning, which helped staff determine that she had probably been born on the day she was found.
Most sea otter pups are deemed non-releasable by the government due to the amount of hands-on care that is needed during the rehabilitation process. They are exposed to a lot of human contact because of bottle feeding and grooming, and become so comfortable with it that they might be unsafe in the wild…
“This little lady was flown here in a transport kennel, by cargo plane or private aircraft, with a veterinarian and highly skilled, experienced staff,” said [Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Trainer Rachel Nelson, who spent three weeks in Alaska getting to know young “Taz”]. “She was closely monitored to make sure she didn’t get too warm.”
Water spray and ice service were administered during the four-hour journey. The plane was maintained at a comfortable cool temperature for the pup, and cabin pressure was kept very low for the transport.
After settling into a private nursery at the Vancouver Aquarium, Tazlina will slowly be introduced to the older sea otters already in residence. They’re playful creatures that do a lot of energetic wrestling, so she’ll need to be a comparable weight before she meets her new friends…
“Any time a baby otter comes in, it’s very exciting. They’re amazing and adorable little animals,” said Nelson. “She’s cute – she’s got quite a personality. It’ll be fun to watch her explore her new habitat. People get very connected to seeing a young sea otter come through.”