These have been challenging days at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre. Much of our focus is on beluga Aurora’s care; it’s also on the tremendous amount of love and support being sent our way after the passing of beluga Qila.
We can’t forget about our newest residents though. Thank you to the hundreds of supporters who helped us choose names for the two rescued Alaskan sea otter pups that arrived at the Vancouver Aquarium on Nov. 1.
We’re happy to announce the male pup, found stranded by a member of the public in Kachemak Bay, Alaska, has been named Mak, after his rescue site.
The female pup, found by the U.S. Coast Guard stranded on Homer Spit, Alaska, has been named Kunik, which is the word in Inuktitut for a traditional Inuit greeting, or “kiss.”
Found separately, without their mothers and the necessary skills to survive on their own, Mak and Kunik were each deemed non-releasable by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.
During its first six months a sea otter pup is highly dependent on its mother for food. Much of the mother’s energy is dedicated to the pup and as a result, her health may decline over the feeding period. Female sea otters give birth every year so if she determines that she has a better chance of rearing a pup the following year, due to environmental factors or availability of prey, then she may abandon the pup before it’s weaned. Without its mother, a pup simply can’t survive.
Mak and Kunik have been given a second chance at life and Vancouver Aquarium will be providing them with a long-term home.
The pups are thriving in their new habitat alongside rescued pup Rialto, under the careful supervision of Vancouver Aquarium’s expert marine mammal care team. Caring for sea otters takes an enormous amount of resources and our team has been working hard to make sure the pups integrate and adapt to their new home. We’re grateful for your generous donations that directly support sea otter care at the Aquarium and for the warm messages from our supporters who are watching along on our live otter cams.