Shedd Aquarium Dedicates #GivingTuesday to Sea Otters

November 30, 2015

This Holiday Season, #YouOtterGive to Shedd's Rescued Sea Otters and Their Healthy Appetite

CHICAGOShedd Aquarium is rolling out a city-wide fundraising campaign as part of the global Dec. 1 #GivingTuesday celebration of generosity, bringing local culinary partners on board to raise money for Shedd’s beloved sea otters and their healthy appetites. With the group of otters consuming nearly 25,000 pounds of restaurant quality, sustainable seafood annually – at a cost of $20,000 per otter per year – Shedd is asking the Chicago community to support these furry mammals with donations to help continue to feed them sustainably.

As part of Shedd’s commitment to providing exceptional care for our animals, we feed them a diet filled with restaurant-quality sustainable seafood. Choosing to feed them sustainably, and encouraging humans to do the same for their families, is a critical conservation action that helps to keep the oceans healthy and abundant. Shedd’s seafood initiative works with the culinary community and the public to ensure animals in our care, their counterparts in the wild, and humans have access to sustainable seafood and healthy oceans for generations to come.

This #GivingTuesday, #YouOtterGive to Shedd’s sea otters and sustainable seafood initiative.

Shedd is joining forces with the sustainable culinary community and rolling out a variety of menu items both at Shedd and in restaurants throughout Chicago to raise awareness of sustainable seafood and help feed our otters. Below, learn about the menu items in store for Dec. 1.

Eat like an Otter at Shedd
To connect guests with the otters on a more personal level, Shedd is hosting an Eat like an Otter event right outside Regenstein Sea Otter habitat at Shedd. On Dec. 1 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., guests can join Fortune Fish & Gourmet and their very own Chef Martin for a demonstration on how to shuck oysters using your hands and tools, just like the otters. In the spirit of #GivingTuesday, Shedd is asking for donations from guests who are participating in the Eat like an Otter special event. Alongside Chef Martin will be Shedd staff members who will share fun tidbits about the otters’ appetites and behaviors, as well as the importance of sustainable seafood as it relates to the otters.

Some otter places to dine for #GivingTuesday
Shedd is teaming up with a few of our sustainable seafood partners around the city of Chicago, serving up some deliciously sustainable seafood plates, in many cases serving up some of the same seafood that is part of an otter’s diet. At select restaurants, a portion of the proceeds from the meal will come directly back to Shedd to support the #YouOtterGive campaign.

•     Prairie Grass Café | Northbrook, IL
This #GivingTuesday, Prairie Grass Café will offer a dinner special that features Pollack in a Panko Breadcrumb Crust with a Crab Butter Sauce. The meal is $26 with a portion of the sale going back to support Shedd’s otters and sustainable seafood initiative.

•     Uncommon Ground | Chicago, IL
Uncommon Ground is another one of Shedd’s partners dedicated to local, organic and sustainable drink and meal choices, including seafood! On Giving Tuesday, Uncommon Ground will be serving up their Korean Fried Calamari and Greenstar Drunken PEI Mussels, donating $1 from each purchase back to Shedd. Uncommon Ground will be running these donations from both their Clark St. and Devon locations.

•     Shaw’s Crab House | Chicago, IL
Shaw’s Crab House is a proud supporter of healthy oceans and promotes sustainable seafood within the restaurant. As a partner to Shedd this Giving Tuesday, Shaw’s Crab House will donate a portion of the day’s oyster sales to Shedd and our sea otters.

•     Kinmont | Chicago, IL
Dubbed “The Mid-West’s Finest Sustainable Seafood”, Kinmont is a valued sustainable seafood partner of Shedd. On Dec.1, Chef Aaron Cuschieri will be serving a special Fisherman-style Seafood Stew, featuring sustainable shrimp, clams, mussels and squid in a saffron and potato broth. With this stew, you can eat just like an otter this Giving Tuesday. 50 percent of the profits for the Fisherman’s Stew will go directly to Shedd.

VISUALS:  Intrigued by what goes into preparing 25,000 pounds of food each year for the otters? We’ve got you covered. Watch as Shedd’s staff prepares a day’s worth of food for these little food guzzlers.

VIDEO:  A video is available to view:

Video download link:

Video credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Sam Cejtin/Amanda Enser

About Shedd’s Sea Otters
For nearly 50 years, Shedd Aquarium has aided in the rescue and rehabilitation of animals in urgent need. Since the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, Shedd has welcomed stranded and orphaned sea otter pups to the aquarium, becoming a trusted consultant, service provider and partner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). More recently, Luna joined the Shedd family, swimming alongside older rescued sea otters such as Cayucos, another California sea otter found stranded by the FWS.

Currently, Shedd is home to five sea otters, four of which were rescued and rehabilitated right here at Shedd. These five sea otters consume 25,000 pounds of frozen food each year, which takes quite some time to prepare. Shedd’s overnight staff members begin prepping the Oceanarium kitchen around 4:30 a.m. At 5 a.m., other staff spends the next six hours supervising volunteers, interns and staff members as they prepare the day’s diets.

Pound for pound, sea otters eat more seafood than any of the other mammals in the Oceanarium, including our largest 1,800 pound beluga. This is because they need to eat a lot in order to stay warm and survive. Unlike all other marine mammals, sea otters don’t have blubber on their bodies to hold in body heat. To make up for it, they have a thick fur coat and high metabolism, which help them burn through all those pounds of food quickly throughout the day.

Their natural diet includes a wide variety of shellfish, fish and crustaceans. Each sea otter gobbles down two pounds of shrimp a day and that’s just part of what goes into each otter’s food bucket; the daily seafood smorgasbord includes Capelin, Pollack, Shrimp, Clam, Squid, Mussels, Crab and Krill, which equals 20 to 25 percent of his or her weight.

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