Newport, Oregon— What “otter” place is better to celebrate International Sea Otter Awareness Day than the Oregon Coast Aquarium? On Saturday, September 28, the Aquarium is holding a special event to raise awareness of the vital role sea otters play in nearshore ecosystems. Guests will also have Behind the Scenes access to see the brand new, recently completed sea otter holding facility.
Although they may appear to be a simple ball of fuzz, sea otters are a “keystone” species that maintain the balance of marine ecosystems. By feeding on urchins, sea otters prevent the overgrazing of kelp and enable kelp forests to flourish. Best of all—they get a tasty meal out of it!
The Aquarium’s three sea otters were rescued after being injured or abandoned as pups in California and Alaska. Visit the Aquarium from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 28 to see the top-notch care that our otters receive and enjoy a day of otter-themed activities.
“Sea otters were hunted near to extinction during the fur trade, and while their populations are slowly coming back in Alaska, Washington and California, we have not seen sea otters return to Oregon,” said Brittany Blades, Curator of Marine Mammals at the Aquarium. “Sea Otter Awareness Day teaches people what they can do to help sea otters have a welcome home in Oregon. Come meet a marine mammalogist to ask all of your otter know questions!”
Learn firsthand how the Aquarium staff train, feed and care for Nuka, Schuster and Oswald during live presentations, and test your luck in a raffle afterwards. Kids can learn about sea otters at the Otter Story Station, make arts and crafts and join in a scavenger hunt.
A Behind the Scenes sneak peek provides a glimpse of sea otter care, from sustainably-sourced, restaurant-quality seafood preparation to the enormous collection of enrichment items that keep these mischievous marine mammals too busy to get into trouble. Additionally, guests will see the new sea otter holding facility that was recently constructed thanks to generous donations. The facility includes special features, such as interactive acrylic glass, a sloping pool and a heating rock, that facilitate health checks and increase welfare as the animals age. It will allow the Aquarium to care for an additional rescued sea otter if needed and may provide opportunity for a sea otter encounter program in the future.
Sea Otter Awareness Day activities are free with admission. The Oregon Coast Aquarium creates unique and engaging experiences that connect you to the Oregon Coast and inspire ocean conservation. An accredited Association of Zoos & Aquariums institution, this 501(c)3 non-profit organization is ranked as one of the top 10 aquariums in the U.S. Visit us at 2820 S.E. Ferry Slip Rd., Newport, OR. www.aquarium.org, 541-867-3474. Follow us on Facebook.com/OregonCoastAquarium, or Twitter.com/OrCoastAquarium for the latest updates.