CHICAGO -- Experts from Chicago's Shedd Aquarium have teamed up with an aquarium in Alaska to provide care for an orphaned sea otter pup.
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According to the Sheed, the male pup was rescued when he was around 3 weeks old. He weighed only 4.8 pounds when he was admitted to the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska, on March 18.
Since then, two members of the aquarium have been providing around-the-clock care for the young orphan. Because sea otters are dependent on their mothers to teach them survival skills, the pup was deemed non-releasable by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"Many of the skills otter pups need to survive are taught, not instinctual, and since the mother isn't here to teach him - we have to," said Andrea Oake, animal care specialist at Shedd Aquarium. "An example of this is foraging; we will toss small food bits among ice and toys so he learns to search for it, or we'll place toys that sink in the water so he can practice diving to retrieve them."
The Shedd said the pup is progressing well in the last several weeks and is now weighing in at 13 pounds.