On Friday, December 12, Shedd Aquarium, along with ABC’s Good Morning America, officially announced the name of its female rescued Southern Sea Otter pup, formerly known as ‘Pup 681’. Over 10,000 votes were tallied from the “Name the Sea Otter Pup” voting contest, which took place between Dec. 2 and Dec. 11, and the winning name is…Luna!
The announcement was made on GMA and also during a special members-only event at Shedd Aquarium. During the event, Shedd’s animal care team announced the winning name and introduced the Sea Otter pup to the exhibit for the first time. The general public will have the opportunity to meet ‘Luna’ in person in Spring 2015 at the Regenstein Sea Otter habitat in the Abbott Oceanarium at Shedd.
Currently weighing in at 11 pounds, the pup is growing quickly and successfully reaching new milestones everyday including diving, foraging for food, grooming on her own and most recently the animal care team introduced four types of seafood to her diet.
The marine mammal team at Shedd provided name choices, which reflected geographic native habitats of Southern Sea Otters, a threatened species. The name Luna is derived from Half Moon Bay, the area close to where the pup was rescued. Shedd members had an exclusive opportunity to vote on their favorite name, making Luna the official Shedd member’s choice.
Shedd Aquarium’s rescued Southern Sea Otter pup, which came to the aquarium as part of a collaborative partnership with Monterey Bay Aquarium, is currently known as ‘Pup 681’. She has been swimming past significant milestones over the last few weeks and is growing quickly. Already double in size and weighing in at a little over 10 pounds, Pup 681 is now ready for a name!
Shedd is partnering up with ABC’s morning television show, “GoodMorningAmerica”,to name the female Sea Otter pup, through the “Name the Sea Otter Pup” voting contest.
“The entire organization celebrates Pup 681 as a meaningful way to educate our guests and have a better understanding of sea otters, which is critical to conserve and protect this species,” said Tim Binder, Vice President of Animal Collections for Shedd. “Over the past few weeks, she has won the hearts of many in Chicago and across the nation. We’re excited to team up with a national organization, to connect millions of people with this species inspiring conservation for wildlife and the environment through the engaging process of selecting a name for our Sea Otter with everyone.”
“Good Morning America” invites viewers to get involved with the contest by casting their votes online, via a poll, found on the right side of their page, at GoodMorningAmerica.com on Yahoo. Participants can submit votes as often as they like until Thursday, Dec.11 at 3 p.m. EST. The final name will be revealed on Friday, Dec. 12.
The public will choose from five names, selected by Shedd’s marine mammal staff. Shedd has a history of naming animals that are rescued affiliated with the locations of which they were found. Names include:
Cali - To honor the California otter
Ellie - Año Nuevo State Park is well known for its elephant seals, also Elkhorn Slough - an area that is right up the coast from Monterey that is home to many Sea Otters
On Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 12 p.m. CT, Shedd Aquarium and Monterey Bay Aquarium will host a Google Hangout On Air session with the public to share the latest progress and information on rescued Sea Otter Pup 681.
Moderated by legendary journalist and aquarium supporter, Bill Kurtis, the live, online event will feature a behind-the-scenes look at the growing Sea Otter pup and first-hand accounts from Shedd and Monterey Bay experts involved in her rescue and continual, round-the-clock care.
Registration for the Google Hangout On Air session can be found at the following:
The female pup arrived at Shedd on October 28th from Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, where she spent the first four weeks of her life being stabilized. The pup has been doing well since her arrival, receiving continual care behind the scenes of Shedd’s Abbott Oceanarium, and she currently weighs in at just under 6 pounds and 22.6 inches long. She is the second pup from the threatened Southern Sea Otter population to reside at Shedd. Currently referred to as “Pup 681,” Shedd’s animal care and veterinarian teams are providing the continual, round-the-clock care she needs to thrive.
The small, vulnerable pup was found on September 30th on Coastways Beach in California, and, at that time, was estimated to be only one week old and weighing around 2 pounds. A citizen on an evening walk heard the newborn otter’s cry and quickly notified The Marine Mammal Center (TMMC). TMMC staff contacted Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Otters Program, and scientists determined the pup could not be safely retrieved that evening due to the remote location and impending darkness. The following morning, the pup was still in the same location and determined to have been orphaned, and it was estimated she had been separated from her mother for at least 16 hours. Scientists from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Sea Otter Program responded immediately to recover the pup and transport her to Monterey Bay Aquarium.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Otter Program has been studying and helping recover the threatened Southern Sea Otter since 1984. The program works with other aquariums, such as Shedd, and wildlife rescue facilities to respond to every sea otter that comes ashore in distress along the California coast. Over the past 25 years, nearly 700 sea otters have come through this program.
Stranded Sea Otter pups require extensive round-the-clock care and there are only a handful of facilities in the United States with the available space, staff and experience to provide the appropriate care. Shedd officials and animal care staff quickly accepted Monterey Bay Aquarium’s call to provide the stranded pup with a permanent home.
To ensure the pup receives everything that she needs, a rotating schedule of six to eight animal care experts provides care and attention 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During this intensive nurturing period, she will remain behind the scenes in the Regenstein Sea Otter Nursery as she develops certain behaviors, such as grooming, foraging, and feeding, as well as regulating her own body temperature by getting in and out of the water.
As she acclimates to her new surroundings, Pup 681 reaches new milestones every day, including taking formula from a bottle, eating solid foods such as shrimp and clams and even climbing upon white towels when she gets wet to help her groom and regulate her body temperature.
As if to say, "Hello world!" the newest Rockhopper Penguin hatchling waved its tiny wings for the camera at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium. Hatched just about a month ago, the chick is thriving and growing quickly, as penguins tend to do, before guests' eyes
each day: Gaining weight, eating, and building relationships with its feathery
neighbors on exhibit in the Polar Play Zone. The open nesting location there allows guests the rare opportunity to watch and learn about the chick as it develops and grows.
Visitors also have the unique chance to see the mother and father care for the
hatchling, sharing parenting responsibilities in equal shifts. The experienced parental Penguin pair is feeding the bird
well, according to Ken Ramirez, Executive Vice President of animal care and
training for Shedd, but there are more key milestones ahead. The chick will
learn to eat on its own before acquiring waterproof plumage and diving into its
swimming skills for the first time.
Photo Credit: Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez
Keepers observe and weigh the bird daily. Born at 75 grams,
the chick gains approximately 40 grams per day and is now at a healthy weight
of 1,019 grams. The gender of the chick has yet to be determined. It is
difficult to identify gender in Penguins without genetic testing, as there is no
observable difference in male and female anatomy. Watch as the Penguin chick interacts with its trainer below:
Cruz, a disabled California Sea
Lion pup, has found a new home at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. The Marine
Mammal Center in Sausalito, CA rescued the pup in July 2012, when he was
discovered alone on a beach in Santa Cruz. Blinded in both eyes by gunshot
wounds, Cruz recovered at the Marine Mammal Center and now joins three other
California Sea Lions at Shedd Aquarium, including a five-year old rescue
trusting relationships is the cornerstone to providing the highest quality care
for our animals, particularly in Cruz’s case,” says
Ken Ramirez, Shedd Aquarium’s executive vice president of animal care
and training. “We literally have to be his eyes, which requires a solid bond
between animal and trainer. Since he arrived at the aquarium, Cruz has been
comfortably relying on our animal care team to guide him, demonstrating
Cruz trains with a rattle. Photo credits: Brenna Hernandez / Shedd Aquarium
training is adapted to fit his strengths. Usually, caretakers train the animals to follow and
touch a visual target, rewarding them with food. This touch-target training helps
the animals to cooperate with caretakers as they do health checkups and clean.
Cruz successfully follows an auditory cue, a rattle, instead of a visual target.
“Though blind in both eyes, he has a fearless
personality and eagerness to learn – two characteristics that indicated we
could provide him with a strong quality of life through training,” says
Shedd Aquarium, a world-class leader in global marine mammal conservation and research, announced that the youngest member of the aquarium’s Beluga Whale (Delphinapterus leucas) family is a girl. For the first time, the public will have the opportunity to see the baby, beginning Friday, Oct. 26, at 11 a.m.
Delivered by mother Mauyak (MAH-yak) on Aug. 27, the five-foot-long calf now weighs more than 205 pounds and is steadily gaining 12 to 15 pounds a week. Improving her milk-intake efficiency, the calf latches onto mom an average of 20 minutes per day. As the calf has mastered nursing, 1,200-pound Mauyak’s appetite has grown as well – nearly tripling her normal diet – eating up to 88 pounds of fish a day.
At approximately 2:00 AM yesterday morning, August 27, Chicago's Shedd Aquarium welcomed a healthy Beluga calf to mother Mauyak. Shedd’s animal care team estimates that the calf is 4½ feet long and weighs about 150 pounds. Both mother and calf appear to be doing well and will remain under 24-hour observation by the animal health staff in Shedd’s Abbott Oceanarium.
“We are thrilled to welcome the newest member of the Shedd Aquarium family. A newborn calf must reach several milestones in its first days and months so we remain cautious; however, the calf has demonstrated incredible progress,” said Ken Ramirez, executive vice president of animal care and training at Shedd. “Mauyak is an experienced mom having given birth to two calves in the past, so the labor was quick and went very smoothly.”
“In less than 24 hours after birth, the calf achieved the first critical milestones that we look for, including taking its first breath, bonding with mom and we’ve seen attempts at nursing,” continued Ramirez, who has nearly four decades of marine mammal expertise, including serving as the past president of the International Marine Animal Trainer’s Association (IMATA). “Shedd’s long history of research and care of these animals tells us that these initial behaviors indicate a strong calf; but we will continue to monitor for signs of development, including steady nursing and growth.”
Animal care is Shedd’s top priority, so mother and calf are currently off exhibit in the Secluded Bay habitat of the Abbott Oceanarium. During the first few critical days following a birth, Shedd’s animal care experts do not physically interact with the whales. Instead, the team observes day and night, allowing time for the mother to nurture her newborn and build a strong bond. As a result, the marine mammal staff has not determined the calf’s gender through a physical examination.
Aquarists at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium noticed a large clutch of eggs being guarded by an Adonis catfish, (Acanthicus adonis) on February 27. The fish continued to guard and fan the eggs, which hatched 5 days later. Most of the fry were removed to reserve for grow out, but some were left with the parent, who continued to guard the fry.
The fry that were left with the father stayed near him for another 2 1/2 weeks. Aquarists estimate that the clutch numbered around 1000 individuals. This is Shedd Aquarium’s first birth with this species. The fry on reserve are growing and doing well.
Four accredited U.S. aquariums have come together in an effort to save a newborn Beluga whale calf which was found stranded in South Naknek, Alaska last week - this is the first time in history that a live calf has been found and rescued in U.S. waters. Marine mammal experts with a combined 125 years of experience from Shedd Aquarium, SeaWorld and Georgia Aquarium immediately answered the Alaska SeaLife Center’s call for assistance to provide around-the-clock care for the calf during this rehabilitation period. The male, 112-pound calf is touch-and-go at this point and considered in critical condition – especially due to his immature immune system, and remains under 24-hour observation.
This is a great example of how the aquarium community comes together to work collaboratively in order do what’s best for an animal in need.
Photo credits 1 and 2 and video: Alaska SeaLife Center. Photo 3: Provided by Shedd Aquarium featuring SeaWorld's Bill Winhall and Shedd Aquarium's Lisa Takaki